Individualism is a school of ethic that can be defined by various perspectives of intelligent mindsets. Nathaniel Brenden (1994) defined individualism as two different concepts: 1) ethical-psychological and 2) ethical-political. Under ethical-psychological concept, he stated that a human being should be able to judge independently and think, while respecting the jurisdiction of his or her mind. In addition, Brenden stated that individuals should uphold its command of individual rights under ethical-political concept (Brenden, 1994). On the other hand, Ayn Rand (1964), the inventor of Objectivism and the strong individualist, defined individualism as follows:
Individualism regards man—every man—as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights—and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.
There are numerous ethical schools of individualism and copious individualists with different perspectives on the idea of individualism. In this paper, I have selected the following ethical individualism to expose and critique: 1) ontological individualism, 2) methodological individualism, and 3) moral or political individualism.
Ontological individualism is a belief that only individuals exist in a society (Sawyer, 2002). In other words, ontological individualism refers to persons who choose and act in a society; only individuals exist. Therefore, a group, a social class, or a state is not able to act as an individual because such collectives are not considered to be responsible for independent actions of persons (Brenden, 1994). Sociological objects and properties are combinations of individual persons and their properties. Ontological individualism is aimed at betterment of explanation and understanding individual decisions (Sawyer, 2005). Brian Epstein (2007) stated that society consists of individuals, or the “whole” is nothing but the “sum of its parts.” While the consensus was believed that only individuals exist, Phillip Pettit (1981) formulated supervenience claims that individualism has dependent relationship, where sets of properties are related. For example, according to the study of Biology, all living and non-living things will supervene on the lower levels, a cell. This supervenience relationship can be found between cell and molecules, molecules and atoms, and, atoms and tiny particles. In this case, the former supervene the latter. In addition, C.J. Ducasse (1993) used the example to explain supervenience: “When the wind blows, the door opens.” This particular event occurs because the pressure of the wind on the door causes the door to open, which appears to have turn into a causal relation between two events. Jaegon...