Derivational contextualism: a theory of individuation
|Abstract||One of the oldest topics in foundational metaphysics is the issue how particulars are to be individuated. To individuate a particular, x, means to find criteria that are necessary and sufficient to ensure the assertibility of x ≠ y, for all and only y that are distinct from x. One can distinguish two separate issues that are run under the heading of individuation. One is the question: what is it about a particular that makes it distinct from all other particulars? The other is the question: how do we single out a particular qua distinct from all other particulars? The distinction closely resembles the one put forward by Hector- Neri Castañeda (1975), except that Castañeda talks about the first question in terms of the issue of the ‘internal constitution’ of objects. This way of speaking is misleading, as it insinuates that it is only intrinsic facts about particulars that could serve as candidates for individuation. Instead, in this essay, I will put forward a theory of individuation in which both questions are treated on equal footing, with the implication that both intrinsic and extrinsic, as well as some special properties that I will introduce play a role in individuating particulars. I call the theory ‘derivational contextualism’. It is an elaboration of some ideas I have put forward in an earlier work (Author forthcoming), regarding some basic conditions for individuation, with a structuralist component. I will..|
|Keywords||particulars individuation quantum particles variables arbitrary objects|
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