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In
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
, particulars or individuals are usually contrasted with
universals In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For example ...
. Universals concern features that can be exemplified by various different particulars. Particulars are often seen as concrete, spatiotemporal entities as opposed to abstract entities, such as properties or numbers. There are, however, theories of ''
abstract particulars Abstract may refer to: * ''Abstract'' (album), 1962 album by Joe Harriott * Abstract (law) In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a uni ...
'' or ''
tropes Trope or tropes may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Trope (cinema) In cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ...
''. For example,
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
is a particular (there's only one Socrates-the-teacher-of-Plato and one cannot make copies of him, e.g., by cloning him, without introducing new, distinct particulars). Redness, by contrast, is not a particular, because it is abstract and multiply instantiated (for example a bicycle, an apple, and a given woman's hair can all be red). In nominalist view everything is particular. Universals in each moment of time from point of view of an observer is the collection of particulars that participates it (even a void collection).


Overview

Sybil Wolfram Sybil Wolfram (born Sybille Misch; 1931–1993) was an English philosopher and writer, of German Jewish The history of the Jews in Germany goes back at least to the year 321, and continued through the Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries CE ...
Sybil Wolfram Sybil Wolfram (born Sybille Misch; 1931–1993) was an English philosopher and writer, of German Jewish The history of the Jews in Germany goes back at least to the year 321, and continued through the Early Middle Ages (5th to 10th centuries CE ...
, ''Philosophical Logic'', Routledge, London and New York, 1989, , page 55.
writes
Particulars include only individuals of a certain kind: as a first approximation individuals with a definite place in space and time, such as persons and material objects or events, or which must be identified through such individuals, like smiles or thoughts.
Some terms are used by philosophers with a rough-and-ready idea of their meaning. This can occur if there is lack of agreement about the best definition of the term. In formulating a solution to the
problem of universals The problem of universals is an ancient question from metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Ep ...
, the term 'particular' can be used to describe the ''particular'' instance of redness of a certain apple as opposed to the 'universal' 'redness' (being abstract). The term particular is also used as a modern equivalent of the Aristotelian notion of individual substance. Used in this sense, particular can mean any concrete (individual) entity, irrespective of whether it is spatial and temporal or not.


See also

*
Epistemological particularismEpistemological particularism is the view that one can know something without knowing ''how'' one knows it. By this view, one's knowledge is justified before one knows how such belief could be justified. Taking this as a philosophical approach, one w ...
*
Moral particularism Moral particularism is a theory in meta-ethics that runs counter to the idea that moral actions can be determined by applying universal moral principles. It states that there is no set of moral principles that can be applied to every situation, ma ...
*
Type–token distinction The type–token distinction is the difference between naming a ''class'' (type) of objects and naming the individual ''instances'' (tokens) of that class. Since each type may be exemplified by multiple tokens, there are generally more tokens than ...
*
Particular affirmative In logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, thought, idea, argument, ac ...
/negative


References

Concepts in metaphysics Physical objects {{metaphysics-stub no:Partikulare