Individualism, a value system,
central to classical liberalism and capitalism, upholds choice, personal freedom, and
self-orientation. Communitarianism is contrasted to
individualism or libertarianism.
Unlike individualism which
refers to an individualistic values system, individuation refers
to the process by which individualism is accomplished, the breaking down of obligatory
ties and responsibilities to other people or to institutions so that the individual is
freed from social bond. Such a process must also lead to the
adoption of the value of individualism.
Ten Modes of
Individualism - None of Which Works - And Their Alternatives
Individualism comes in at least ten modes: ontological, logical, semantic, epistemological, methodological
individualism, axiological, praxiological, ethical, historical, and political. These
modes are bound together. For example, ontological individualism motivates the thesis that
relations are n-tuples of individuals, as well as radical reductionism and libertarianism.
The flaws and merits of all ten
sides of the individualist decagon are noted. So are those of its holist counterpart. It
is argued that systemism has all the virtues and none of the defects of individualism and
holism. One such virtue is the ability to recognize that individualism is a system rather
than an unstructured bag of opinions, which raises the question whether thorough and
consistent individualism is at all possible. - Mario Bunge, McGill University, Montreal.
The Division of Institutionalists into 'Humanists' and 'Behaviorists'
By Paul D. Bush
Abstract: David Seckler has filled an important gap in the methodological literature of
economics by providing a "radical individualist" critique of American
institutionalism (1). Seckler argues that institutionalists have been unable to develop a
coherent methodology because of their ambivalence on the issue of "free will versus
determinism." Thorstein Veblen, he says,
entertained both "humanistic" and "behavioristic" hypotheses in his
explanations of human behavior and, consequently, descended
into obscurantism. The institutionalist literature in general reflects these contradictory
methodological tendencies; for example, John R. Commons believed in humanism,
whereas Clarence Ayres was a "behaviorist." Seckler's critique is not, however,
persuasive. He fails to recognize the difficulties inherent in the philosophical dualisms
posited by "radical individualism," and he employs them credulously in his
critique of institutionalism.
Talcott Parsonss Sociology
of Religion and the Expressive Revolution
The Problem of Western Individualism - Bryan S. Turner, National University
Immanuel Kant distinguished between religion as cult in
which people seek favours from God through prayer and offerings to bring healing and
wealth, and religion as moral action that commands human beings to change their lives.
Kant further defined religion as a reflecting faith or moralizing
faith that compels humans to strive for salvation through faith alone. The Kantian
distinction was fundamental to Max Webers view of the
relationship between asceticism and capitalism. Talcott Parsonss early sociology of
religion engaged with this theme in Kant and Weber, but in his later work Parsons came to
a re-appraisal of David Émile Durkheim. In the
concept of the expressive revolution, Parsons followed Durkheim in studying individualism
as a major transformation of society. There is, however, a contradiction between
individualism as either the legacy of Protestant pietism or the product of modern
consumerism. Parsonss sociology of religion remains distinctive because he did
not subscribe to the secularization thesis, but instead saw American liberalism as the
fulfilment of Protestant individualism. The paper concludes with a critical assessment of
the differences between the values of the expressive revolution and the legacy of Kantian
Cultural Differences in Individualism? Just Artifact.
Spencer Kagan, G. Lawrence Zahn, University of California
Previous research has provided discrepant findings with regard to the presence or absence
of a cultural difference in strength of individualistic motivation among Mexican American
and Anglo American children. To test the hypothesis of a cultural difference, and to
explore the nature of different individualism measures, two individualism measures were
administered to 733 Anglo American, Mexican American, and black children. Results
indicated age but not cultural differences in strength of individualistic motivation, and
that one measure of individualism, the Social Orientation Choice-Card, is confounded with
DEMOCRATIC INDIVIDUALISM AND ITS CRITICS
George Kateb Department of Politics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Where democracy exists, there will be individualism. The historical record shows that
democracy inevitably engenders individualism. This proposition will be challenged by those
who think either that individualism can obtain in nondemocratic cultures or that democracy
can exist without engendering individualism. The paper rejects both contentions. The
defining characteristic of democracy is freedom, and the oldest democratic concept of
freedom is the Greek one: To be free is to live as one likes. Versions of that definition
are found wherever people are or aspire to be democratic. To live as one likes means that
one is allowed to try out various roles in life. Each person is more than any single role,
function, or place in society. Individualism consists in that idea. Only democracy
inspires it. It is also true that democracy, in reaction, produces antidemocratic
individualism. The greatest students of democratic individualism are Plato and
Tocqueville, and they are also its profoundest critics.
Collectivism: Concept and Measure - John A Wagner, Michael K. Moch
This article draws attention to the distinction between individualism and collectivism,
indicates its importance for organizational scientists, and develops a questionnaire
measure of individualism-collectivism.
Reconciling Group Selection and Methodological Individualism
TODD J. ZYWICKI, George Mason University - School of Law
Abstract: Methodological individualism underpins economic analysis. In his paper in this
volume, however, Douglas Glen Whitman demonstrates that group selection can be reconciled
with methodological individualism.
Institutional individualism and institutional change: the search for a middle way
mode of explanation - Fernando Toboso, University of Valencia
Abstract: After noting the lack of enthusiasm of several well-known scholars concerning
the adoption of both methodological holism and methodological individualism in its several
versions, this paper shows that institutional individualism is a different mode of
explanation from both of these and also that it is not the same thing as the so-called
Popperian programme of situational analysis. Institutional individualism is a mode of
explanation that yields non-systemic and non-reductionist explanations at the same time as
it allows for the incorporation into economic theories and models of the many formal and
informal institutional aspects surrounding all human interactions, whether these
interactions take place within stable structures of legal rules and social norms or whether they attempt to change the said rules and norms.
Wide content individualism - DM Walsh, University of Edinburgh
Wide content and individualist approaches to the individuation of thoughts appear to be
incompatible; I think they are not. I propose a criterion for the classification of
thoughts which captures both. Thoughts, I claim, should be individuated by their
teleological functions. Where teleological function is construed in the standard way -
according to the aetiological theory - individuating thoughts by their function cannot
produce a classification which is both individualistic and consistent with the principle
that sameness of wide content is sufficient for sameness of psychological state. There is,
however, an alternative approach to function, the relational theory, which is preferable
on independent grounds. A taxonomy of thoughts based on these functions reconciles wide
content with individualism.
Utilitarian Individualism and Panel Nonresponse - Geert Loosveldt
and Ann Carton
In models of survey participation, utilitarian individualism can be considered as a
relevant social psychological characteristic. Data from a panel survey are used to
evaluate the effect of utilitarian individualism on the nonresponse of the second wave of
a panel. The results show that after controlling for gender, education, political
interest, and two indicators of respondent's behavior, people characterized by a high
degree of utilitarian individualism are less willing to participate in the interview of
the second wave of a panel. The consequences of this selective nonresponse for the
measurement of utilitarian individualism are discussed.
Perception of individualism and collectivism in Dutch society:
A developmental approach
Louis Oppenheimer, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Within Triandiss (1994) theoretical framework, two studies are reported that deal
with the developmental course for subjective perceptions of cultural dimensions in Dutch
society (i.e., vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism). While perceptions
of society are always subjectively determined, the perceived dimensions that are prevalent
in society do not necessarily have to parallel subjective evaluations of the self in terms
of the same dimension. In the first study, 245 secondary school pupils and 268 psychology
students participated; they were divided into six age groups with mean ages 12, 14, 16,
18, 20, and 22 years and above. Outcomes on the IndividualismCollectivism scale
(INDCOL; Singelis et al., 1995) demonstrated age and gender related changes in perception
of society. By calculating the separate dimensions of individualism, collectivism,
verticality, and horizontality, a disappearance of collectivism and verticality and an
increase in horizontality across age were observed.
Individualism and the
Formation of Values - Solon T. Kimball, University of Florida
The assumption by educators, theologians, jurists, or others that right behavior can be
achieved by the implantation of values in the individual fails to take account of the
dynamics of value formation and change and of their relation to the social environment.
The Problem of Western Individualism.