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A Momentary Flow

Evolving Worldviews

There are some fairly old philosophical issues about what confers identity and uniqueness, and these are the principles, quiddity and haecceity. I hadn’t even heard of these issues until I started to research into it, and it turns out these obscure terms come from the philosopher Duns Scotus. Quiddity is the invisible properties, the essence shared by members of a group, so that would be the ‘dogginess’ of all dogs. But the haecceity is the unique property of the individual, so that would be Fido’s haecceity or Fido’s essence, which makes Fido distinct to another dog, for example. These are not real properties. These are psychological constructs, and I think the reason that people generate these constructs is that when they invest some emotional time or effort into an object, or it has some significance towards them, then they imbue it with this property, which makes it irreplaceable, you can’t duplicate it. In effect, it becomes sacred, and so I think that sacred objects, which exist across various religions, also have this notion of them being unique. You can’t duplicate and you can’t corrupt them. They have this property that is indivisible. I think essentialism is pervasive in our attitude towards objects, but it’s also there in our attitudes to valuation.

Essentialism | Conversation | Edge

Notes

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