Leibniz’s Principle of Individuation in His Disputatio metaphysica de principio individui of 1663
McCullough (Laurence)
Source: Barber (Kenneth F.) & Gracia (Jorge J.E.) - Individuation and Identity in Early Modern Philosophy (Descartes to Kant), 1994, pp. 201-218
Paper - Abstract

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  1. Three Preliminaries
    … 1.1 Leibniz’s Approach to the Problem of Individuation1
    … 1.2 The Intension of ‘Individual’
    … 1.3 The Extension of ‘Individual’
  2. Leibniz’s Principle of Individuation2 in the Disputatio
    … 2.1 Principles of Individuation3 Leibniz Rejects in the Disputatio
    … 2.1.1 Negation
    … 2.1.2 Existence
    … 2.1.3 Haecceity4
    2.2 Principles of Individuation5 Leibniz Accepts in the Disputatio
  3. Leibniz’s Principle of Individuation6 in his Mature Philosophy: A Sketch
  4. Conclusion: Leibniz’s principle of individuation7 is whole entity. Every property of an individual is itself individual, in virtue of being self-individuated, and is thus unique to that individual. Indeed, on the basis of such a nominalistic ontology, with its deep antagonism to any commonality in re, the only principle of individuation8 that can be defended is whole entity. Thus, Leibniz’s nominalistic commitments – with roots in late scholastic work, Suarez in particular, formed at the very beginning of his philosophical career, and adapted in his mature philosophy to a dynamic model of individuals – are essential to understanding the nature of his principle of individuation9, and why he came to hold that principle. Leibniz’s principle of individuation10, it turns out, is thus not a modern one, although in his mature philosophy it is adapted to a problem that is modern: how to account for the individuation11 of individuals that are centers of activity.

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