Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||For most early Medieval and Scholastic philosophers working in the Aristotelian tradition, knowledge of any specific subject is knowledge of its causes and principles. Knowledge of individuals was no exception. As Jorge Gracia has written "To know individuality [for early Medieval and Scholastic philosophers] is to be able to determine the causes and principles that are responsible for it."1 The achievement of such ability is also known as the problem of individuation. This paper will be concerned with the solution to the problem suggested by Leibniz’s writings and how it relates to the contemporary metaphysical debate. In the first section I introduce the problem of individuation along with the solution Leibniz proposed during the latter part of his life. The second section analyzes Leibniz’s solution in a contemporary perspective. I argue that, unlike during the Medieval and early Modern periods, today the epistemic side of the problem of individuation plays a major role in the debate. In this light, Leibniz’s proposal that humans cannot grasp what the individuality of an individual consists in seems problematic. I show, however, that Leibniz’s proposal can stand on its feet also nowadays, provided we are willing to give up the pretenses that there is a definitive count of individuals and that re-identifying individuals across time and space is part of the problem of individuation.|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Anja Jauernig (2008). Leibniz on Motion and the Equivalence of Hypotheses. The Leibniz Review 18:1-40.
Andrew Kelley (1998). Leibniz on Individuals and Individuation. The Review of Metaphysics 51 (3):702-703.
Howard Burdick (1991). What Was Leibniz's Problem About Relations? Synthese 88 (1):1 - 13.
Jack D. Davidson (2003). Leibniz on the Labyrinth of Freedom. The Leibniz Review 13:19-43.
Stefano Di Bella (2005). The Science of the Individual: Leibniz's Ontology of Individual Substance. Springer.
J. A. Cover (1999). Substance and Individuation in Leibniz. Cambridge University Press.
Ohad Nachtomy (2011). A Tale of Two Thinkers, One Meeting, and Three Degrees of Infinity: Leibniz and Spinoza (1675–8). British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (5):935-961.
Stuart Brown (1998). Leibniz on Individuals and Individuation. The Leibniz Review 8:88-94.
Added to index2010-03-06
Total downloads38 ( #35,926 of 739,764 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #61,680 of 739,764 )
How can I increase my downloads?