Ask a question about 'Particular'
Start a new discussion about 'Particular'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
In philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, particulars are concrete entities existing in space and time as opposed to abstraction
Abstraction is a process by which higher concepts are derived from the usage and classification of literal concepts, first principles, or other methods....

s. There are, however, theories of abstract particulars
Abstract particulars
Abstract particulars are metaphysical entities which are both abstract objects and particulars. Individual numbers are often classified as abstract particulars because they are neither concrete objects nor universals - they are particular things which do not themselves occur in space or time...

or tropes
Trope (philosophy)
The term "trope" is both a term which denotes figurative and metaphorical language and one which has been used in various technical senses. The term trope derives from the Greek τρόπος , "a turn, a change", related to the root of the verb τρέπειν , "to turn, to direct, to alter, to change"; this...

. For example, Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 is a particular (there's only one Socrates-the-teacher-of-Plato and one cannot make copies of him, e.g., by cloning him, without introducing new, distinct particulars). Redness, by contrast, is not a particular, because it is abstract and multiply instantiated (my bicycle, this apple, and that woman's hair are all red).

Sybil Wolfram writes

Particulars include only individuals of a certain kind: as a first approximation individuals with a definite place in space and time, such as persons and material objects or events, or which must be identified through such individuals, like smiles or thoughts.

Some terms are used by philosophers with a rough-and-ready idea of their meaning. This can occur if there is lack of agreement about the best definition of the term. In formulating a solution to the problem of universals
Problem of universals
The problem of universals is an ancient problem in metaphysics about whether universals exist. Universals are general or abstract qualities, characteristics, properties, kinds or relations, such as being male/female, solid/liquid/gas or a certain colour, that can be predicated of individuals or...

, the term 'particular' can be used to describe the particular instance of redness of a certain apple as opposed to the 'universal' 'redness' (being abstract
Abstraction is a process by which higher concepts are derived from the usage and classification of literal concepts, first principles, or other methods....

). See also type-token distinction
Type-token distinction
In disciplines such as philosophy and knowledge representation, the type-token distinction is a distinction that separates an abstract concept from the objects which are particular instances of the concept...