more from John Locke

Single Idea 12506

[catalogued under 9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / c. Individuation by location]

Full Idea

The principium individuationis, 'tis plain, is existence itself, which determines a being of any sort to a particular time and place incommunicable to two beings of the same kind.


The 'principium individuationis' (Latin) is the principle of individuation

Gist of Idea

A thing is individuated just by existing at a time and place


John Locke (Essay Conc Human Understanding (2nd Ed) [1694], 2.27.03)

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Essay Concerning Human Understanding', ed/tr. Nidditch,P.H. [OUP 1979], p.330

A Reaction

I wish I could get completely clear about what a 'principle of individuation' is supposed to do. E.J. Lowe is always banging on about them. I would have thought that being an individual had to precede any 'principle' underlying it.

Related Idea

Idea 13098 We use things to distinguish places and times, not vice versa [Leibniz]