Individual Existence and the Philosophy of Difference

Robert Stern

in The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234097
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


Individual Existence and the Philosophy of Difference


It is a commonplace to say that it is hard to understand the trajectory of ‘continental’ philosophy without coming to terms with the influence of Hegel. Hegel is not just be seen as a ‘parting of the ways’ between ‘continental’ and ‘analytic’ philosophy, but as a bridge between them too, as many continental thinkers have come to address the traditional problems of philosophy through their encounters with Hegel, in a way that is hard to see if he is left out of the picture. One such traditional question is the problem of individuality. This problem concerns the question of what makes something an individual, as a unified entity distinct from other individuals. This problem has its roots in the history of philosophy, from Plato onwards, and is a problem with several dimensions, as it raises concerns not only in metaphysics, but also in epistemology and ethics.

Keywords: continental philosophy; analytic philosophy; problem of individuality; Plato; metaphysics; epistemology

Article.  14227 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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