Institutional Identity


  • Joshua Rust Stetson University


identity, social kinds, institutions, social ontology, Derek Parfit


For some sufficiently long-standing institutions, such as the English Crown, there is no single thread, whether specified in terms of constitutive rules or assigned functions, that would connect the stages of that institution. Elizabeth II and Egbert are not connected by an unbroken chain of primogeniture and they have importantly different powers and functions. Derek Parfit famously sought to illuminate his account of personal identity by comparing a person to a club. If Parfit could use our intuitions about clubs to help motivate his neo-Lockean account of personal identity over time, which resists the idea that personal identity requires a common psychological thread, then I argue that an adapted version of his account of identity might, in turn, be reapplied to clubs and other institutions, such as the Crown.


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How to Cite

Rust, Joshua. 2019. “Institutional Identity”. Journal of Social Ontology 5 (1). Vienna, Austria:13-34.