metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality, the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of conscio ...
, particulars or individuals are usually contrasted with universals. Universals concern features that can be exemplified by various different particulars. Particulars are often seen as concrete, spatiotemporal entities as opposed to abstract entities, such as properties or numbers. There are, however, theories of '' abstract particulars'' or '' tropes''. For example,
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and among the first moral philosophers of the ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, Socrates authored no te ...
is a particular (there's only one Socrates-the-teacher-of-Plato and one cannot make copies of him, e.g., by cloning him, without introducing new, distinct particulars). Redness, by contrast, is not a particular, because it is abstract and multiply instantiated (for example a bicycle, an apple, and a given woman's hair can all be red). In nominalist view everything is particular. Universals in each moment of time from point of view of an observer is the collection of particulars that participates it (even a void collection).


Sybil Wolfram Sybil Wolfram, ''Philosophical Logic'', Routledge, London and New York, 1989, , page 55. writes
Particulars include only individuals of a certain kind: as a first approximation individuals with a definite place in space and time, such as persons and material objects or events, or which must be identified through such individuals, like smiles or thoughts.
Some terms are used by philosophers with a rough-and-ready idea of their meaning. This can occur if there is lack of agreement about the best definition of the term. In formulating a solution to the problem of universals, the term 'particular' can be used to describe the ''particular'' instance of redness of a certain apple as opposed to the 'universal' 'redness' (being abstract). The term particular is also used as a modern equivalent of the Aristotelian notion of individual substance. Used in this sense, particular can mean any concrete (individual) entity, irrespective of whether it is spatial and temporal or not.

See also

* Epistemological particularism * Moral particularism * Type–token distinction * Particular affirmative/negative


Concepts in metaphysics Physical objects {{metaphysics-stub no:Partikulare