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Encyclopedia > 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, p.26-27) Look up Vernacular in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A person is defined by philosophers as a being who is in possession of a range of psychological capacities that are regarded as both necessary and sufficient to fulfill the requirements of personhood. ... Template:Otherusescccc A graph of a bell curve in a normal distribution showing statistics used in educational assessment, comparing various grading methods. ... Plato and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ... A proper name [is] a word that answers the purpose of showing what thing it is that we are talking about writes John Stuart Mill in A System of Logic (1. ... Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook, that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ...

The individual as a force

The property that all individuals have in common is that they tend to change their world in order to maintain a specific state. In an abstract sense, an individual tries to remove every factor that he dislikes and tries to add every factor he likes. This behaviour can be summarized as a movement to a state of happiness. This is the only common property of individuals and therefore the concept of an individual can be defined as this movement. The world is, in a philosophical sense, everything that is seen and percieved by human intellect and human senses, even though some branches of philosophy may refer to different worlds, making a reference to the different realms of philosophy (such as the mathematical world, the intelligible world, the world of... Happy redirects here. ... A concept is an abstract idea or a mental symbol, typically associated with a corresponding representation in language or symbology, that denotes all of the objects in a given category or class of entities, interactions, phenomena, or relationships between them. ...

Such a definition implies that an individual is not necessarily human, nor does it need to have any form of awareness. Using this definition implies that one can recognize an individual behind every group of more or less coherent changes in the world. For example, gravity could be the individual that tries to put all mass together. A definition is a form of words which states the meaning of a term. ... In biological psychology, awareness describes a human or animals perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ...

He who recognizes himself as an individual defined as such can see his actions as a product of his capacities, the state of the world he acts in and himself. His knowledge, experience and possessions are no more than a part of the world. They are created and maintained by the individual in order to efficiently strive to the ideal state of happiness. In this sense earthly possessions and mental thoughts are just the same kind of achievements for the individual.

The previous example of gravity could -with a bit of effort- also be used here. What are the achievements of gravity? What is to gravity what are the thoughts and possessions of humans? Rivers. Rivers are maintained by gravity as a way to transport water to a lower altitude. The same way humans try to act rational by forcing themselves to follow rules, gravity forces water to go by rivers. The capacities of gravity are of course extremely limited. It cannot be said that this is a conscious proces. Rational may be: the adjective for the state of rationality acting according to the philosophical principles of rationalism a mathematical term for certain numbers; the rational numbers the software company Rational Software; now owned by IBM, and formerly Rational Software Corporation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid... Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and ones environment. ...

This definition can be used as a basis to develop an important philosophy. This concept results in an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Because of this it can guide and constrain a self-aware individual in all it's actions.


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

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Individualism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1299 words)
Individualism is a moral, political, and social philosophy, which emphasizes individual liberty, the primary importance of the individual, and the "virtues of self-reliance" and "personal independence".
Individualism is often contrasted with either totalitarianism or collectivism, but in fact there is a spectrum of behaviours ranging at the societal level from highly individualistic societies (e.g.
Proponents of such public initiatives and social responsibility argue that their policies are beneficial for the individual, and that excessive individualism may actually hurt the individuals themselves.
  More results at FactBites »



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