Difference between Individual and Person

The terms individual and person are used as synonyms, but they are totally different. Individual defines the unit against other units according to a reference system such as species, race or group while person is a concept that defines the singularity of each individual that belongs to the human species.


The term individual refers to a unit against others within a frame of reference such as race, species or group. It comes from the Latin term indiviso, which means “that cannot be divided”. Individualization takes place in matter and in living beings and is a metaphysical concept.

According to metaphysics, the individual constitutes the essence of a substantial principle. An individual cannot be divided because it is a unit and it is a solid physique, but, for other scholars such as Duns Soto, an individual is defined by its common nature as a species and its individual entity. Individuation is independent of the material and the empirical.


The word person comes from the Latin person. It is a philosophical concept that expresses the uniqueness of each individual that belongs to the human species. It represents the opposite of “human nature” because it expresses what is common in our species. The most used concept is that of being endowed with reason, that is aware of itself and possesses its own identity.

According to the physiological context, a being or individual belonging to the human species is identified as a person. While for psychology a person is a complete being, including their physical and psychological aspects, which define their unique and singular character.

Differences between individual and person

  • People have differences that make them unique in their group. A person represents the uniqueness of the human being.
  • Individuals are those individual representatives or those who represent a unit with respect to a group or frame of reference.

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