Particular


Particular

In metaphysics, particulars are, one might say, identified by what they are not: they are not abstractions, not multiply-instantiated--i.e. they are concrete. (There are, however, theories of "abstract particulars" or "tropes".) Hence, 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 held by metaphysical realists) it is abstract and multiply-instantiated (my bicycle, this apple, and that woman's hair are all red).

Sybil Wolfram [Sybil Wolfram, Philosophical Logic, Routledge, London and New Youk, 1989, ISBN 0 415 02317 3, 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.
The fact of the matter is that all such terms are used by philosophers with a rough-and-ready idea of how they work. If there is confusion or lack of agreement about the specifics, that is a reflection of the fact that philosophers have many competing metaphysical theories that inform more precise, but idiosyncratic, accounts of the meanings of these terms. Hence, for example, for convenience in formulating a solution to the problem of universals, 'particular' can be pressed into service in describing the "particular" instance of redness of a particular apple--even though redness (being abstract) is precisely the sort of thing that is "not" supposed to be particular. See philosophical jargon.

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  • Particular — Par*tic u*lar, a. [OE. particuler, F. particulier, L. particularis. See {Particle}.] 1. Relating to a part or portion of anything; concerning a part separated from the whole or from others of the class; separate; sole; single; individual;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • particular — PARTICULÁR, Ă, particulari, e, adj., s.m. I. adj. 1. Care este propriu unei singure fiinţe, unui singur lucru sau unei singure categorii de fiinţe sau de lucruri; specific, caracteristic, particularist1. ♢ Loc adv. În particular = în mod deosebit …   Dicționar Român

  • particular — adjetivo 1. Que es propio de una sola persona o cosa y no de otras: Un rasgo particular suyo es la valentía. Mi opinión particular es que eso no está bien. 2. Que es concreto, determinado o singular en contraposición a general o universal: Es un… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • particular — (Del lat. particulāris). 1. adj. Propio y privativo de algo, o que le pertenece con singularidad. 2. Especial, extraordinario, o pocas veces visto en su línea. 3. Singular o individual, como contrapuesto a universal o general. 4. Dicho de una… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Particular — Par*tic u*lar, n. 1. A separate or distinct member of a class, or part of a whole; an individual fact, point, circumstance, detail, or item, which may be considered separately; as, the particulars of a story. [1913 Webster] Particulars which it… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • particular — par·tic·u·lar adj in the civil law of Louisiana: of or relating to a designated property or to the inheritance of it compare universal Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • particular — [pär tik′yə lər] adj. [ME particuler < MFr < LL particularis < L particula,PARTICLE] 1. of or belonging to a single, definite person, part, group, or thing; not general; distinct 2. apart from any other; regarded separately; specific [to …   English World dictionary

  • particular — In its meaning ‘considered as distinct from others’, particular plays a useful identifying or emphasizing role: • For this particular show there is an audience…and they arrive at 7.30 p.m. Guardian, 1970. In other cases, it can be superfluous: •… …   Modern English usage

  • particular — [adj1] exact, specific accurate, appropriate, blow by blow*, circumstantial, clocklike, detailed, distinct, especial, express, full, individual, intrinsic, itemized, limited, local, meticulous, minute, painstaking, particularized, peculiar,… …   New thesaurus

  • particular — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to an individual member of a specified group or class. 2) more than is usual; special: particular care. 3) fastidious about something. ► NOUN ▪ a detail. ● in particular Cf. ↑in particula …   English terms dictionary

  • particular — adj. 2 g. 1. Que pertence a um só, que é próprio de certas pessoas ou de certas coisas. 2. Peculiar, especial. 3. Individual. 4. Singular. 5. Extraordinário. 6. Privado. 7. Reservado. 8. Íntimo. • s. m. 9. O que é particular. 10. Circunstância… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa


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