By heinrich scholz
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We need to know some liter ary history in order to be able to identify Boz with Dickens. That Hespe rus, the so-called evening star, is identical with Phosphorus, the so-called morning star, and identical also with the planet Venus was an astronom ical discovery. It is an historical fact that the Roman Camulodunum is identical with the English Colchester. Though it happens that all these propositions are very well established, it is certainly not unthinkable that any one of them should turn out to be false.
It is necessarily true that any IDENTITY AND REFERENCE 15 thing which is not in the place where this lectern is is not this lectern, but it is false that since this lectern is in this place, its being there is necessary to its identity. We have no reason to deny that it could have been else where, a few feet to the left perhaps or even in another room. This is only one of many counter-factual hypotheses about this lectern that we seem able to frame without falling into contradiction. The problem is where to draw the line.
This lectern could perhaps turn into ice or at least it could be argued that the bar to its doing so was physical and not logical, but to suppose that it could have been made of ice from the start, if it is in fact made of wood, would be to sacrifice its identity. This example is more difficult to handle, because of the obscurity of the question what makes this lectern the particular lectern that it is. We can give at least a rough description of the properties that anything must have in order to belong to the class of lecterns, but when we ask what properties, if any, essentially distinguish this lectern from any other, we find the question puzzling.