Haecceity (from the
Latin"haecceitas", which translates as "thisness") is a term from medieval philosophyfirst coined by Duns Scotuswhich denotes the discrete qualities, properties or characteristics of a thing which make it a "particular" thing. Haecceity is a person or object's "thisness". Charles Peircelater used the term as a non-descriptive reference to an individual.
Haecceity and Quiddity
Haecceity may be defined in some dictionaries as simply the "essence" of a thing, or as a simple synonym for
quiddityor hypokeimenon. However, such a definition deprives the term of its subtle distinctiveness and utility. Whereas haecceity refers to aspects of a thing which make it a "particular" thing, quiddity refers to the universal qualities of a thing, its "whatness", or the aspects of a thing which it may share with other things and by which it may form part of a genusof things. Duns Scotus makes the following distinction:
It is important to note that while terms such as haecceity, quiddity,
noumenonand hypokeimenon all evoke the essenceof a thing, they each have subtle differences and refer to different aspects of the thing's essence. Gilles Deleuzeand Felix Guattarirepopularized the term in the late 20th century, as in the following quotation: "There is no general prescription. We have done with all globalizing concepts. Even concepts are haecceities, events."
* Deleuze, Gilles and
Félix Guattari. 1980. " A Thousand Plateaus". Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 2 of " Capitalism and Schizophrenia". 2 vols. 1972-1980. Trans. of "Mille Plateaux". Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. ISBN 0826476945.
Principle of individuation
* [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-haecceity/"Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy" article — "Medieval Theories of Haecceity"]
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