19 August 2009

very particular

What makes a particular a particular?

Our average experience of the world does not consist in the appreciation of particularity, but of universality. This is where the empiricist philosophers went wrong, thinking that the immediacy of our experience is the experience of particulars, when in fact the primal element of our experience is the experience of universals.

However much this tempts me to suggest that particulars are not particularly anything, I know that this isn't quite true. I'm not sure how true this always is of individual objects, but there certainly are some objects which are in fact different than other objects of their class. I may rejoin that these objects that are different than other similar objects are simply closer to their universal than others, but I wonder whether this is enough of an explanation.

At any rate, it certainly seems that particular people can have some meaning in their particularity, but the manner in which this particularity exists remains mysterious.