Individual

Individual

As commonly used, individual refers to a person or to any specific object in a collection. In the 15th century and earlier, and also today within the fields of statistics and metaphysics, individual means "indivisible", typically describing any numerically singular thing, but sometimes meaning "a person." (q.v. "The problem of proper names"). From the seventeenth century on, individual indicates separateness, as in individualism. [Abbs 1986, cited in Klein 2005, pp.26-27] Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires.

Descartes

In his statement Cogito ergo sum ("I think therefore I am"), Rene Descartes posits the notion the individual subject, distinct from the world around him or her. This is the most famous articulation of subject-object dualism (see subject-object problem) in the Western philosophical tradition.

Empiricism

Early empiricists such as Ibn TufailG. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] and John Locke introduced the idea of the individual as a tabula rasa ("blank slate"), shaped from birth by experience and education. This ties into the idea of the liberty and rights of the individual, society as a social contract between rational individuals, and the beginnings of individualism as a doctrine.

Hegel

Hegel regarded history as the unfolding of God's plan through a process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The role of the individual in this view was as an agent of this unfolding--a part of a greater whole.

Existentialism

With the rise of existentialism, Kierkegaard rejected Hegel's notion of the individual as subordinated to the forces of history. Instead, he elevated the individual's subjectivity and capacity to choose his or her own fate. Later Existentialists built upon this notion. Nietzsche, for example, examines the individual's need to define him/her own self and circumstances in his concept of the will to power and the heroic ideal of the Übermensch. The individual is also central to Sartre's philosophy, which emphasizes individual authenticity, responsibility, and free will. In both Sartre and Nietzsche, the individual is called upon to create his or her own values, rather than rely on external, socially imposed codes of morality.

Martin Buber's "I and Thou"

In "I and Thou", Martin Buber presents the individual as something that changes depending on how he or she is relating to the outside world, which can be in one of two ways: In the "I-it" relation, the individual relates to the external world in terms of objects that are separate from him or herself (an "I" looking at an "it"). In the "I-thou" relation, the individual has a personal connection to the external, and feels almost a part of whatever he or she is relating to; the subject-object dichotomy disappears (see Nondualism).

Buddhism

In Buddhism, the concept of the individual lies in anatman, or "no-self." According to anatman, the individual is really a series of interconnected processes that, working together, give the appearance of being a single, separated whole. In this way, anatman, together with anicca, resembles a kind of bundle theory. Instead of an atomic, indivisible self distinct from reality (see Subject-object problem), the individual in Buddhism is understood as an interrelated part of an ever-changing, impermanent universe (see Nondualism).

References

* Gracia, Jorge J. E. (1988) "Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics". State Univ. of New York Press.
*Klein, Anne Carolyn (1995) "Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self". ISBN 0-8070-7306-7.

ee also

* Atom (disambiguation)
* Consciousness
* Cultural identity
* Identity
* Independent
* Person
* Self (philosophy)
* Self (sociology)
* Self (psychology)
* Self (spirituality)


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  • individual — I adjective detached, deviating, different, differentiated, discrete, disjoined, disjunct, distinct, distinctive, distinguishable, exceptional, extracted, extraordinary, independent, individualized, isolated, nonconforming, nonuniform, particular …   Law dictionary

  • individual — INDIVIDUÁL, Ă, individuali, e, adj. 1. Care este propriu unui individ; personal, specific. ♦ Care priveşte sau aparţine unui singur exemplar dintr o categorie de lucruri sau de fiinţe. 2. Care este executat de individ. Muncă individuală. ♦… …   Dicționar Român

  • Individual — In di*vid u*al (?; 135), a. [L. individuus indivisible; pref. in not + dividuus divisible, fr. dividere to divide: cf. F. individuel. See {Divide}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Not divided, or not to be divided; existing as one entity, or distinct being or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • individual — When used as a noun, individual should denote a single person in contrast with a group of people or with society as a whole: the role of the individual in the community / She continues to treat them as individuals. It is less satisfactory, and… …   Modern English usage

  • individual — adjetivo 1. Del individuo: libertad individual, rasgos individuales. 2. Que es para un solo individuo: camas individuales, habitaciones individuales. nombre* individual …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Individual — In di*vid u*al, n. 1. A single person, animal, or thing of any kind; a thing or being incapable of separation or division, without losing its identity; especially, a human being; a person. Cowper. [1913 Webster] An object which is in the strict… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • individual — adj. 2 g. 1. Do indivíduo. = PESSOAL ≠ COLETIVO 2. Próprio do indivíduo. = PARTICULAR, PECULIAR 3. Que é destinado apenas a uma pessoa. 4. Que é feito apenas por uma pessoa (ex.: exposição individual). ≠ COLETIVO • s. m. 5. O que é referente… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • individual — adj 1 particular, specific, *special, especial Analogous words: *single, sole, separate, particular Antonyms: general Contrasted words: generic, *universal, common 2 peculiar, distinctive, * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • individual — [adj] distinctive, exclusive alone, characteristic, definite, diacritic, diagnostic, different, discrete, distinct, especial, express, idiosyncratic, indivisible, lone, odd, only, original, own, particular, peculiar, personal, personalized,… …   New thesaurus

  • individual — [in΄də vij′o͞o əl; ] often [ in΄divij′əl] adj. [ML individualis < L individuus (< in , IN 2 + dividuus, divisible < dividere, to DIVIDE) + AL] 1. Obs. not divisible; not separable 2. existing as a single, separate thing or being; single; …   English World dictionary

  • individual — individual. См. индивидуум. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.


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