Posted by: Johan Normark | March 29, 2009

Haecceity and archaeology

So what is a haecceity? This is Deleuze and Guattari’s term for what DeLanda calls an “individual singularity”. It is usually translated as “thisness”. The term comes originally from the medieval philosopher John Duns Scotus and denotes the qualities and property that make a thing, object or person an individual entity or an event. This is not an essential property but an emergent property. This means that each artifact, building, posthole, bone, etc. is a haecceity. There are no general concepts, these are just linguistic conventions used to group individual objects together into more generalized concepts which, in the non-linguistic reality, have no existence. But as Deleuze and Guattari argue, even concepts are haecceities. What this means is that although the concept/word artifact exist there is no general concept of artifact in reality (only this axe and this sword). We can still talk about caves and causeways but not as representations of this cave and this causeway, but only as individual concepts that point toward real objects and hence form an assemblage with them. Thus, this blog will discuss individual objects and events rather than generalizations. It is hard but it is my belief that this is how the world works.

 

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