what's the difference between a crackpot?

Anton Sherwood (dasher@netcom.com)
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 23:34:18 -0700

Ian Goddard wrote:

> Popular definition of identity:
> > IDENTITY 1. exactly the same, as in same houses; a
> > relation of complete and absolute sameness or resem-
> > blance between two things... 2. ...a meaning relation
> > that remains the same in our application of it... 3.
> > neither 1. nor 2., but a relation of sameness... [2]
> > [2] Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy.

If you don't like it, find another word. This one is taken.

> IAN: In short, a "relation of sameness" is a fallacy,
> for only different things can be related.

Says who?

> "Same as"
> is "non-identity."

A less indulgent man might say this is crackpot talk.

> We can relate two things that are
> similar only to the extent that they are different,
> for example that they occupy two different spaces.

Or different times. If a cat walks into my room tonight, I will assume
it's the same cat I saw this morning (unless its coloring is visibly
different). I mentally relate (compare) two perceptions and judge them
to be of the same entity; this is vernacular identity. I can never be
certain that the cat hasn't been replaced with a similar cat while I
wasn't looking, but as an operationalist I generally rely on the
assumption that if I can't perceive a difference I can safely assume
it's the same cat.

I suppose you would say: "You make your judgement of the cat by
measuring her difference from your shoes, the neighbor's dog, and other
things that are not Fluffy." That's partly true and partly false. I
know by experience that most of the things in the world do not look like
Fluffy; but I do *not* examine anything else. If I were in a black void
and the only thing illuminated were a cat, I would say, without looking
about for another comparand, "That's Fluffy" (or not, as the case may

And then there's binocular vision: two perceptions of the same thing at
the same place and time, yet slightly different.

> The perfect "same as relation" would be a relation of a
> thing to itself, but such a relation is a null relation.
> Therefore the prevailing atomist definition of identity
> is false, irrational, an clearly contrary to reality.

And yet everyone but you finds a use for it.

> Identity is difference, and difference is holistic.

War is peace.

"How'd ya like to climb this high without no mountain?" --Porky Pine
Anton Sherwood   *\\*   +1 415 267 0685
!! visiting New Mexico, end of March !!