New Analysis paper on how to understand “sortals”

Recently Harold Noonan published a very interesting paper about criteria of identity. There is a traditional distinction, going back to Frege, between the application conditions of a sortal term like ‘tiger’ and its criterion of identity. Noonan argues that this long tradition has made a logical error: at least on the standard interpretation, a criterion of identity is not distinct from application conditions. This is potentially a big problem for making the very basic distinction between sortals and adjectival terms. But even though Noonan’s logical point is right, he is a little too quick to erase the distinction. In this paper, I show how to understand nontrivial criteria of identity and rebuild the distinction between sortals and adjectival terms.

Sortals and Criteria of Identity, Analysis 72, No. 3 (2012), 474-478.

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