Haecceity

“First proposed by John Duns Scotus (1266–1308), a haecceity is a non-qualitative property responsible for individuation and identity. As understood by Scotus, a haecceity is not a bare particular in the sense of something underlying qualities. It is, rather, a non-qualitative property of a substance or thing: it is a “thisness” (a haecceitas, from the Latin haec, meaning “this”) as opposed to a “whatness” (a quidditas, from the Latin quid, meaning “what”). Furthermore, substances, on the sort of metaphysics defended by Scotus, are basically collections of tightly unified properties, all but one of them qualitative; the one non-qualitative property is the haecceity. In contrast to more modern accounts of the problem of individuation, Scotus holds that the haecceity explains more than just the distinction of one substance from another. According to Scotus, the fact that individual substances cannot be instantiated — are indivisible or incommunicable, as Scotus puts it — also requires explaining. In short a haecceity is supposed to explain individuality”

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