Towards a process-pragmatic grounding of the concept of identity: Peirce on potentiality, interaction, and regularity

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Peirce offers us a perspective on identity that is less problematic than the Aristotelian, essentialist approach, which still latently, but deeply influences a lot of contemporary, analytic views on identity. The problem of the essentialist view is that it precludes the possibility of real novelty, and fails to account for the dynamic connectedness of the world. Peirce’s account of identity does more justice to these elements. His view will be elaborated on the basis of his phenomenological categories of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness. The crucial point that will be made is that from Peirce’s process-pragmatic point of view things and persons have no pre-given, independent identities, but identities emerge by virtue of regulated interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-78
JournalTijdschrift voor filosofie (België)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

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