Essential Individuality: On the Nature of a Person

  • Roberta De Monticelli
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 89)


Logical Question Essential Individuality Strong Individua Lity Ontological Criterion Individua Lity 
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  1. 1.
    R. De Monticelii, Individuality and Mind, in: Proceedings of the International Conference The Emergence of the Mind, Fondazione Carlo Erba, Milano, 2000; R. De Monticelli, Andrea o dell’individualità essenziale, in: G. Usberti (ed.), I modi dell’oggettività, Saggi in onore di Andrea Bonomi. Milano: Bompiani, 2000.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ishall only refer to some well-known thinkers of the analytic tradition, such as P. Strawson, D. Wiggins, N. Goodman; yet a very similar remark could be proved to be true concerning most well-known philosophers in 20th century “continental” tradition, to the exception of the Phenomenologists we refer to below.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. B. McCullough, Leibniz on Individuals and Individuation (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996); J. E. Gracia, Introduction to the Problem of Individuation in the Early I Middle Ages, 2nd edition (Munich: Philosophia Verlag, 1988); K. F. Barber and J. E. Gracia, Individuation and Identity in Early Modern Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    C. Wolff, Philosophia prima, sive ontologia/ed. et cur. Johannes Ecole, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1962 Caput II, De ente Singulari et Universali.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding P. H. Nidditch (ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), III, 27.3, p. 409.Google Scholar
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    G. Berkeley, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in: A. Luce and T. E. Jessop, The Works of George Berkeley (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1948), 2: p. 192.Google Scholar
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    D. Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, L. A. Selby-Bigge (ed.) (London: Oxford University Press, 1958), I.I.VII, p. 19.Google Scholar
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    P. F. Strawson, Individuals. An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics (Garden City, N.J.: Anchor Books, 1963), p. 2.Google Scholar
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    Op. cit., p. 2.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    N. Goodman, The Structure of Appearence (Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company, 1977).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Seenote 9. For a classic defense of individuation by form in Aristotle cf. Léon Robin, Sur la notion d’individu chez Aristote, “Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologique”, XX, 1931.Google Scholar
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    Thomas Aquinas, De ente et essentia, II, 4; “Materia signata quantitate” can be read as “matter occupying this determined portion of space”.Google Scholar
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    “Unum autem numero seu singulare aut individuum dicitur, quod ita est unim ens, ut [...] non sit communicabile multis”, F. Suarez, Disputationes Metaphysicae (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1965), I,V, p. 146.Google Scholar
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    In so far as 19th century continental philosophy depends on Kant, it gives no exception to the dominance of the DMI. Singularity is not thought otherwise as through an epistemological criterion of a Kantian kind (the “multiplicity of empirical intuition”). This is particularly evident in Hegel’s Phenomenolologie des Geistes, see the Section Bewusstsein, the dialectics of Sensible Certainty.Google Scholar
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    Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, I Primae, Q. 50, Art. 4.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    There is more than one theory in the Aristotelian corpus; for individuation by matter see Metaphysics M, I,8, 1034a 5–8; V, 6, 1016b 32; VII, 10, 1035 b 27–31; XII, 8, 1074a 33. See also B. Pinchard: “Le principe d’individuation dans la tradition aristotélicienne”, in: P. N. Mayaud (ed.), Le probème de l’individuation (Paris: Vrin, 1991), pp. 27–45.Google Scholar
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    J. Locke (1690), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, II,XXVII, 13, Collated and annotated by A. Campbell Fraser (New York: Dover University Press, 1959), vol. I, p. 454.Google Scholar
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    J. Hering, “Bemerkungen über das Wesen, die Wesenheit und die Idee”, in: Jahrbuch für Philosophie und phaenomenologische Forschung, IV, Halle 1921. The idea of individual essences was in fact circulating among phenomenologists of the first generation, in particular those among them who worked at the foundations of a personology — and of the regional ontology appropriated to it. We find relevant insights on the ontology, as well as on the epistemology of essential individuality in Max Scheler’s and Edith Stein’s works. Cf. R. De Monticelli (ed.), La persona: apparenza e realità. Testi fenomenologici 1911–1933 (Milano: Cortina, 2000).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta De Monticelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GenevaGeneva

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