Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of individualism comprises at least three basic ideas in the political realm. First is the dignity of man: Following the Kantian formula, each individual being exists as an end in himself or herself and not merely as a means for arbitrary use by this or that will. Second, the idea of autonomy holds that an individual's thought and action are his or her own and not determined by agencies or causes outside his or her control. Third comes privacy, according to which each human being should enjoy a private life, an area in which the individual should be untroubled by others and able to act and think in accordance with his or her own free will. This concept of individualism is indissociably bound up with the tenets of modernity and with the conviction that meaning, truth, and value originate in—and exist for the benefit of—mankind. What we call ...