WE all naturally believe that the real world about us contains individ ual things. And if you ask what we naturally mean by believing this, I first reply, apart from any more formal definition of individuality, by saying that we believe our world to consist of facts, of realities, which are all ultimately dif ferent from one another, and unlike one another, by virtue of precisely what con stitutes their very existence as facts or as realities. Things may resemble one an other as much as you will. But deeper than their resemblance has to be, accord ing to our common-sense view, the fact that they are still somehow individually or numerically different beings. Yonder lights, for instance, are in your present opinion all of them different from one an-
other, despite their resemblances as lumi nous objects. You and your neighbors are different beings. And such individual difference, as you hold, enters very deeply into your inmost constitution, or into the constitution of any person or thing in the universe. No matter how much two peo ple, say twins, look alike, talk alike, think alike, or feel alike, we still hold that they are different beings ; and we naturally hold that this difference lies somehow deeper than do all their resemblances, inner or outer. For that each one of them is, or that he is this being, depends upon and implies the fact that he is nobody else; and just as neither of the twins could have any appearance, or voice, or thoughts, or feelings at all unless he first existed; just so, too, neither of them, as the individual that he is, could exist at all unless he were this person, and not the other. So that to exist implies, as we usually hold, to be dif ferent from the rest of the world of exist ences. And since I must exist if I am to
have any qualities whereby I can resemble another being, and must differ from all other beings if I am to exist, it naturally seems that my difference from all the rest of the world is, in a sense, the deepest truth about me. However little I may know about myself, common sense there fore supposes me to be at least very sure that I am nobody else, and so am different from anybody else.
By an individual, then, we mean an essentially unique being, or a being such that there exists, and can exist, but one of the type constituted by this individual being.
An easy task it is then, although indeed a very dry and abstract task, to tell what in general constitutes individuality, if we take the term simply as an abstract noun. For the beings of the world are made individ uals by whatever truly serves to distinguish each of them from all the rest, to keep them, as it were, seemingly apart in their Being. But now, if we leave this barely ....