Individuation and Identity in Early Modern Philosophy

Descartes to Kant

Edited by Kenneth F. Barber & Jorge J. E. Gracia

Subjects: History Of Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791419687, 275 pages, July 1994
Hardcover : 9780791419670, 275 pages, July 1994

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Table of contents


Kenneth Barber

The Problem of Individuation among the Cartesians
Thomas M. Lennon

Descartes and the Individuation of Physical Objects
Emily Grosholz

Malebranche and the Individuation of Perceptual Objects
Daisie Radner

Spinoza's Theory of Metaphysical Individuation
Don Garrett

Locke on Identity: The Scheme of Simple and Compounded Things
Martha Brandt Bolton

Berkeley, Individuation, and Physical Objects
Daniel Flage

Substance and Self in Locke and Hume
Fred Wilson

Leibniz's Principle of Individuation in His Disputatio metaphysica de principio individui of 1663
Laurence B. McCullough

Christian Wolff on Individuation
Jorge J. E. Gracia

Substance and Phenomenal Substance: Kant's Individuation of Things in Themselves and Appearances
Michael Radner

Notes on Contributors

Index of Proper Names


Philosophy in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries has traditionally been characterized as being primarily concerned with epistemological issues. This book is not intended to overturn this characterization but rather to balance it through an examination of equally important metaphysical, or ontological, positions held, explicitly or implicitly, by philosophers in this period.

Major philosophers whose views are discussed in this book include Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, Wolff, and Kant. In addition, the contributors of minor Cartesians, especially Regis and Desgabets, are analyzed in a separate chapter. Although the views of early modern philosophers on individuation and identity have been discussed before, these discussions have usually been treated as asides in a larger context. This book is the first to concentrate on the problems of individuation and identity in early modern philosophy and to trace their philosophical development through the period in a coherent way.

Jorge J. E. Gracia is Professor of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo. He is the author of Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics and Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography; editor of Individuation in Scholasticism: The Later Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation, 1150-1650; and co-editor of Philosophy and Literature in Latin America: A Critical Assessment of the Current Situation, all published by SUNY Press.


Kenneth F. Barber is Associate Professor, State University of New York at Buffalo.