Difference (philosophy)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Difference is a key concept of continental philosophy, denoting the process or set of properties by which one entity is distinguished from another within a relational field or a given conceptual system. In the Western philosophical system, difference is traditionally viewed as being opposed to identity, following the Principles of Leibniz, and in particular his Law of the Identity of indiscernibles. In structuralist and poststructuralist accounts, however, difference is understood to be constitutive of both meaning and identity. In other words, because identity (particularly, but not limited to, personal identity) is viewed in non-essentialist terms as a construct, and because constructs only produce meaning through the interplay of differences (see below), it is the case that for both structuralism and poststructuralism, identity cannot be said to exist without difference.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Difference (philosophy)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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