Axioms of Identity

Here is what Scott C. Lemon said:
In my research into digital identity, I created a set of 'axioms' that have molded my perspective of the subject. I developed these axioms as the foundation for how I would create a digital identity solution ... a software solution to accumulate identity, and provide controlled dissemination of that information.

The First Axiom of Identity

I posit that we humans do not have any inherent identity.

The Second Axiom of Identity

I posit that identity does not exist outside the context of a community.

The Third Axiom of Identity

I posit that identity is exchanged in transactions that occur within a context of trust and authentication.

nota bene: given the last update on these (4-3-2005), I'm guessing that Bernard didn't already mention them here earlier :)


  1. (Post edited to correct a broken link to the third axiom.)

    This is thought for people identity. Does it apply to any subject identity? If so, it figures that we tend to somehow personalize subjects.

  2. personalizing subjects is the topic of a paper I am presenting in Leipzig next week: "Just for me: topic maps and ontologies."

  3. Oops ... I'm afraid I was sloppy on vocabulary. Clearly personalize subjects is what you are about in your paper. But what I was about actually was that we tend to personify everything : pets, then living things, then inanimate objects, then any resource or concept. Even God is personified at the end of the day.
    Are we able to identify without personify, or is identification just an extension of personification, in other words is identification a form of pathetic fallacy?

  4. Pathetic Fallacy raises some really interesting issues, even in the case of personalization. Information wants to be free. What a concept! Well, what a concept indeed. Information is a perfectly valid subject, worthy of being proxified in a topic. It's also a valid role player in associations of all kinds. As such, we can assign properties of all kinds to that subject, and, thus, identify it, regardless of any fallacy behind our use of it in relationships. I think.

  5. Anonymous3.10.05

    Can't say that I agree with these axioms of identity. Leibniz's Law works ok for me, at least in the non-quantum realm: if x and y have all the same properties, then x = y.

    On a side note, noticed this in an article about Brady Quinn, quarterback for Notre Dame's (resurgent) football team:

    The attention is growing. Three MySpace accounts have been created as his name – none of which shows any proof to actually being Brady

    On the one hand, there being three Brady Quinn, quarterback, accounts on myspace.com calls the validity of each one into question, but to recognize that you need to realize that there is more than one.

    On the other hand, Verification of identity would be useful here, as the original post notes, but confusing verification with identity is confusing an epistemological notion (how do we know x = Brady Quinn) with a metaphysical notion (Brady Quinn = Brady Quinn).


Comments welcome