The Value Of Individualism

1434 Words6 Pages
Individualism is “a political and social philosophy that places high value on the freedom of the individual”(Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2003,295).In a board sense, it can be an act, a belief and a doctrine that focuses on individuals in fields like politics, economics and culture. The notion of individualism occurred early in the ancient Greek civilization, but a complete theory was not coined until the modern times. Through years of development, it becomes a typical Western value that has been thought to distinguish Western society from other societies. Among the West, America has been regarded as a defining example that stresses individualism as its core value (Deng 2005).

As a general philosophy, individualism involves “a value system,
…show more content…
Bertrand Russell wrote: “With the loss of political liberty from the time of Alexander onwards, individualism developed, and was represented by the Cynics and Stoics” (1945,598). Then, the revival of humanism during the Renaissance and the emancipation of individuals during the Reformation provided direct source for the theory of individualism. In the eighteenth century, the rise of the Enlightenment led to the continued revival of classical culture and humanism. During the French Revolution, philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Francois-Marie Arouet have created new theories on humanism, rationalism and liberalism, which freed people’s mind and indirectly built up the idea of liberalism as well as individualism among the public(Deng 2005). During the same period, the term individualism firstly occurred in its French form. Before long, its theory began to develop in a systematized way by the Saint-Simonians in the middle years of the 1820s (Lukes…show more content…
According to Lukes, “Individualism once exhibited interesting national variations, but its various meanings has since largely merged.” (n.d.) Through years, individualism in this multicultural society has been absorbed as well as developed from Europe. Then with America politics and economics booming, Americans gained strong confidence and became a typical country that highly valued individualism. As James Bryce explained, "Individualism, the love of enterprise, and pride in personal freedom, have been deemed by Americans not only their choicest, but their peculiar and exclusive possession."
Open Document