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Adams on Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity

Here I have focused on R M Adams’s view on individual identity and possible worlds coupled with a short entry on Dun Scotus’s notion of haecceity. This should enable one to see where the theories of Leibnitz, Kripke, Adams meet and diverge – taking one to a more comprehensive picture on the issue of individual essences. Adams explicitly avoids the term ‘individual essence’ – reserving it only for general essences. But his exposition can be read as suggesting an impressive way of reconciling the seemingly opposed approaches of Leibnitz and Kripke – the former admitting individuality to be strictly qualitative while the latter insisting it to be non-qualitative. Adams prefers to dub this individual identity as ‘Primitive thisness’ and clarifies that thisness being the property of being identical to a unique individual can thereby be defined independent of any reference to a property – which is by definition general and shareable. On the other hand suchness is a purely qualitative notion and does not fall back to any reference to a unique individual. Adams also points out that de re identity or transworld identity is primitive in the sense that it cannot fall back on a more fundamental property or relation. And the mark of an identity being primitive or non-derivative is its power to explain why two apparently two individuals are really one or the reverse.

de dicto, de re, Primitive Thisness, Transworld Identity, Haeccity

Sagarika Datta. (2023). Adams on Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity. Advances in Sciences and Humanities, 9(3), 90-96.

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