Locke on Individuation and the Corpuscular Basis of Kinds
Kaufman (Dan)
Source: Forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Abstract

    In this paper, I will argue that there is a problem, an intractable problem concerning Locke’s theory of the individuation1 of material objects. I will call the problem, ‘the Kinds Problem’. Very briefly stated, the Kinds Problem is the following: Locke’s theory of individuation2 seems to entail that two things can be (and, in fact, are) in the same place at the same time. Spatiotemporal-coincidence is perfectly acceptable for Locke as long as the coinciding things are ‘of different kinds’. The problem is that there are cases of coincidence in which there do not seem to be acceptable candidates for the relevant kinds to allow for the coincidence. More than that, however, I will argue that not only are there no good candidates for the relevant kinds which allow for coincidence, there cannot be any good candidates here. I argue for this on the basis of Locke’s theory of real and nominal essences and ultimately the corpuscularianism underlying that theory.


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