Ambiguous individuality: Georg Simmel on the “who” and the “what” of the individual [Book Review]

Human Studies 31 (3):279 - 298 (2008)
The essay discusses the philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel’s theorizing about the individual. Whereas it is typically within the context of the modern metropolis and the mature money economy that Simmel’s ideas have been discussed in the secondary literature, I render those ideas in another light by addressing the ontological and existential issues crucial to his conception of the individual. In Simmel, the individual is divided between the “what” and the “who,” between the qualities which make one something individual and one’s non-repeatable and finite existence which makes one someone singular. I argue that whereas the first dimension can be understood sociologically, in terms of social relations, the latter is not accessible to sociology as such, but must be treated philosophically. Therefore, if we wish to address this duality that lies at the heart of individuality, a “philosophical turn” for sociology is called for.
Keywords Individuality  Philosophy  Singularity  Simmel  Sociology  Type
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,121
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

49 ( #90,771 of 1,934,733 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #434,687 of 1,934,733 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.