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bare particular

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


M etaphysics A thing changes its properties over time while remaining the same thing. The traditional explanation is that the substance or essence of a thing remains or endures and does not involve change unless the thing itself is destroyed. An alternative account can be provided on the basis of the notion of bare particular. On this view, instead of being a continuing entity, an individual is a series of momentary objects that stand in contingent relations to other objects in the series. These relations guarantee that the thing endures. Each momentary object comprises universal properties, relations, and a further element called a bare particular. The bare particular is the instantiation of the universal properties and serves as the bearer of the characteristics co-present with it. The bare particular is different from either properties or relations, is without characteristics (hence, bare), and is even more basic than time and space. Since a bare particular cannot be a constituent of two different momentary objects, it confers individuality upon substances by being the basis for their numerical oneness. The difference between a basic particular and the usual notion of substance is that it is momentary rather than continuing. The theory of basic particulars is opposed to the cluster theory, according to which a substance is the sum of the characteristics we associate with ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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