individualism

[From Latin individuus: indivisible, inseparable.]

  1. (ethics) Any theory holding that the individual, not any sort of collective entity, is the proper beneficiary of action; thus individualism is essentially the same as egoism and is opposed to altruism or ethical collectivism. Most kinds of ethical individualism are forms of eudaimonism, but for instance this is not true of existentialism.

  2. (epistemology) The idea that only individual minds (not groups) can come to have knowledge.

  3. (metaphysics) The view that only particular, individual things exist; another word for concretism or particularism.

  4. (politics) Respect for individual rights; often synonymous with libertarianism or classical liberalism.

The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre

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