Affiliations: College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: An entity x is said to be generically dependent on a type F if x cannot exist without at least one entity of type F existing. In this paper several varieties of generic dependence are distinguished, differing in the nature of the relationship between an entity and the instances of a type on which it generically depends, and in the light of this, criteria of identity for generically dependent entities are investigated. These considerations are then illustrated in detail in a series of three case studies, covering shapes, linguistic entities such as letters, words and sentences, and collectives. Each case study examines how far the entities involved have robust identity criteria, and to the extent that they do not it is questioned whether they can be regarded as bona fide examples of generic dependent entities. Finally, in the light of this, a number of possible accounts that may be given of the ontological status of such entities are considered.