The individual is thus the ultimate object of all actual consciousness; in intuition directly, and in thought indirectly. To complete our explanation, we must therefore determine what is meant by an individual. By the term an individual is meant, in psychology, no more than an object occupying a definite position in space or time. It is indifferent, in this point of view, whether the several individuals thus distinguished can or cannot really exist apart from each other; or whether the portion of space or time which each occupies is distinguished from other portions naturally or arbitrarily.
The leaf which I see before me is an individual; so is the bough; so is the tree; so is the forest. Each has its own position in space, which nothing else can occupy along with it. A chain of six feet long is an individual; whether it exists separately, or only as part of a longer chain. Every link, and every fragment of a link, of the chain is again an individual, in so far as, with or without physical separation, it may be made a distinct object of sight or thought.
What space is to material individuals, time is to individual phenomena of mind. I may feel anger or fear many times in succession; but each has its own peculiar portion of time; and the passion which I felt yesterday, however similar in other respects, is numerically distinct, as an individual state of mind, from that which I felt the day before yesterday, or that which I am feeling at this moment.
We need not at present inquire whether each of these distinct individuals has in reality a separate existence apart from our point of view or not. They may be independent units: they may be fractions of larger units: they may be multiples of smaller units: they may be constituent parts of one only real unit, the universe. They may be modes of my own mind; or they may be attributes of something distinct from myself.
***Excerpt from Henry Longueville Mansel, B.d.. Metaphysics or the philosophy of consciousness