more from Allan Gibbard

Single Idea 14069

[catalogued under 9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay]

Full Idea

To ask meaningfully what that thing would be, we must designate it either as a statue or as a piece of clay. What that thing would be, apart from the way it is designated, is a question without meaning.

Gist of Idea

We can only investigate the identity once we have designated it as 'statue' or as 'clay'


Allan Gibbard (Contingent Identity [1975], III)

Book Reference

-: 'Journal of Symbolic Logic' [-], p.194

A Reaction

He obviously has a powerful point, but to suggest that we can only investigate a mysterious object once we have designated it as something sounds daft. It would ruin the fun of archaeology.