Political Philosophy And Individualism Sample Essay

Individualism refers to a moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that prioritizes the moral value of each individual. Advocates of individualism emphasize independence and self-reliance while valuing the pursuit of personal goals and desires. They maintain that an individual’s interests should take precedence over those of the state or any social group. Simultaneously, they reject any form of interference from society or institutions such as government regarding personal interests.

Individualism emphasizes the importance of the individual in the quest for freedom, placing them at the forefront. It affirms that individuals possess the right to both freedom and self-actualization. An individualist actively participates in society either by pursuing personal interests or asserting their prerogative to prioritize personal needs over societal ones.

The individualist rejects any philosophy that requires sacrificing the self-interest of individuals for social causes. However, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that his concept of the “general will” in the “social contract” does not simply aggregate individual wills, but actually benefits individuals. Rousseau believes that being bound by the law is advantageous for individuals because disregarding it reflects ignorance and submission to passions instead of desired autonomy based on reason.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, individualists mainly prioritize safeguarding personal independence from social institutions such as the state or religious morality. Individualism is a political and social philosophy that highlights the moral importance of the individual. Although the meaning of individualism varied across different countries, these meanings have largely come together. Following the turmoil of the French Revolution, Francesco associated individualism with factors that led to societal breakdown, chaos, and prioritizing individual interests over collective ones.

The negative connotation of the term was employed by different political factions in France, such as reactionaries, nationalists, conservatives, liberals, and socialists. Despite their diverse perspectives on a potential and desirable social order, they all used the term negatively. In Germany, there was a promotion of worshiping individual genius through the concepts of individual uniqueness (Instigate) and self-realization, which aligned with the Romantic notion of individuality. Eventually, these ideas were incorporated into an organic theory of national community.

This perspective suggests that the State and society are not created by humans through a social contract, but instead they are separate and self-contained cultural entities. In England, individualism encompassed religious nonconformity (such as not adhering to the Church of England) and different forms of economic liberalism, ranging from total laissez-faire to moderate state intervention.

In the 19th century, American individualism emerged as a key element of the United States’ ideology. It was influenced by New England Puritanism, Jeffersonian beliefs, and the philosophy of natural rights. Initially, American individualism was idealistic and comprehensive in nature. However, when combined with social Darwinism’s emphasis on survival of the fittest, it took on a more resilient stance. The concept of “rugged individualism,” promoted by Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential campaign, was associated with treasured American values like personal freedom, capitalism, and limited government.

According to James Bryce, the British ambassador to the United States from 1907 to 1913, Americans have always held individualism, enterprise, and personal freedom in high regard. In his book The American Commonwealth (1888), Bryce referred to these qualities as the most cherished and unique traits of Americans. Alexis De Destructive, a French aristocratic political philosopher from the 19th century, saw individualism as a type of moderate selfishness that led individuals to prioritize their own immediate circle of family and friends.

Observing the workings of the American democratic tradition for Democracy in America (1835-40), Destructive noted that individualism led citizens to isolate themselves from others and associate only with their family and friends. This weakened the virtues of public life, which could be counteracted by civic virtue and association. According to Swiss historian Jacob Bureaucrat (1 818-97), individualism represented a cult of privacy. This, coupled with the growth of self-assertion, spurred the highest individual development seen during the European Renaissance.

The categorization of individualism by French sociologist ?mile Druthers (1858-1917) consists of two types: the utilitarian egoism represented by Herbert Spencer, who viewed society as a mere tool for production and exchange, and the rationalism exemplified by Emmanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen during the French Revolution. These proponents prioritize reason and free inquiry. F.A. Hayes (1899-1992), an Austrian economist who favored market processes and distrusted state intervention, made a distinction between “false” and “true” individualism. False individualism can be mainly found in French and other continental European writings. It is characterized by an excessive belief in individual reason and social planning, often leading to modern socialism. On the other hand, true individualism had advocates such as John.

Locke, Bernard De Mandible, David Home, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, and Edmund Burke, who all lived during the 17th to 18th centuries, argued that the combined efforts of free individuals can result in achievements that surpass their individual intelligence. They also acknowledged the necessity for individuals to surrender to the enigmatic forces of society. Individualism also encompasses various inquiries about the connection between groups and individuals.

The question at hand concerns the explanation of various aspects of group behavior, social processes, and historical events. Methodological individualism, advocated by Karl Popper, asserts that any explanation of these phenomena must ultimately rely on facts about individuals – their beliefs, desires, and actions.

The view sometimes referred to as ontological individualism suggests that social or historical groups, processes, and events are simply combinations of individuals and their actions. Methodological individualism rejects explanations that rely on social factors that cannot be explained on an individual level. This can be seen in Deuterium’s analysis of varying suicide rates based on levels of social integration, as well as the explanation of protest movements based on the structure of political opportunities.

Ontological individualism differs from other perspectives that consider institutions and collectives as secondary entities. For example, some may view corporations or states as acting independently, while others emphasize bureaucratic roles, rules, or social groups as separate from individuals but influencing their actions. Another aspect of the discussion on individualism is how we should understand the worth and value of goods in our moral and political lives.

Some theorists, known as atomics, argue that there are no goods that are inherently common or communal. They believe that there are only individual goods that are obtained by individuals. From this viewpoint, morality and politics are tools used by each individual to obtain these goods for themselves. Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy is an example of this perspective, as it sees political authority as stemming from a hypothetical “contract” between individuals.

Another concept often observed in economics and related social sciences is the notion that most social institutions and relationships are most effectively viewed through the lens of self-interest. The concept of individualism, which promotes personal satisfaction and control over one’s own surroundings while disregarding public participation and communal bonds, has long received criticism from various perspectives including both conservative and liberal viewpoints as well as religious and non-religious viewpoints.

Advocates of communitarianism strongly criticize individualism, viewing it as synonymous with narcissism and selfishness. Similarly, proponents of “republican” political thought, which advocates power division for control, see individualism as detrimental to both the state and democratic institutions as it hinders citizen support and active involvement.

In modern Western societies, individualism has often been seen as a distinguishing factor from non-Western ones like traditional India and China. These non-Western societies are said to prioritize the community or nation over the individual. Additionally, an individual’s role in political and economic aspects of their community is heavily influenced by their class or caste membership.

The Isolation And Alienation Of Troy In Wilson’s Research Paper

Fences August Wilson’s Fences is a play about life, and an extended metaphor Wilson uses to show the crumbling relationships between Troy and Cory and Troy and Rose. Troy Maxson represents the dreams of black America in a majorly white world, a world where these dreams were not possible because of the racism and attitudes that prevailed. Troy Maxson is representative of many blacks and their “attitudes and behavior… ithin the social flux of the late fifties, in their individual and collective struggles to hew a niche for themselves in the rocky social terrain of postwar America” (Pereria, 37).

Much of the tension in the play comes from Troy Maxson, and his inability to change, his, “refusal to accept the fact that social conditions are changing for the black man” (Pereria, 37). Troy’s wife, Rose, recognizes this early on, saying to him, “Times have changed from when you was young, Troy. People change. The world’s changing around you and you can’t even see it” (Wilson, 40).

This inability to change diversely affects Troy’s relationship with his second son, Cory, who is a promising athlete. Sports provide the arena for the continuing conflict and foreshadows the characteristic that will eventually lead to Troy’s downfall. There is a constant struggle between Troy and Cory because Troy will not allow his son to pursue his athletic dreams, telling him instead to keep his after-school job. This comes from Troy’s past, when he was a promising baseball player who was prevented from playing because he was black.

Troy’s fears carry into the new generation when he prevents his son from pursuing a football scholarship because of his past, even though the world was changing at this time, and colored people were expanding into new areas. Troy admits to Rose that his decision regarding Cory’s future comes from his past when he states, “I decided seventeen years ago that boy wasn’t getting involved in no sports. Not after what they did to me in the sports” (Wilson, 39). Troy, unable to change with the times, is, “convinced of no professional future for black athletes, he is determined to direct his son into a more practical career” (Pereira, 37).

The title of the work, Fences, acts as an extended metaphor throughout the play. Troy builds fences between himself and virtually everyone in the play, isolating himself further and further as he clings to the past and refuses to adapt to a world changing around him. He builds a fence between himself and his friend Bono when he takes a promotion at work, and then puts a fence between he and Rose when he goes outside of the confines of their marriage with Alberta. He also builds a fence between himself and Cory by his refusal to acknowledge his son’s dreams.

As Bogumil states, “By drawing a strict boundary around himself regarding familial relations, Troy loses virtually every sense of affection and bond between himself and his son, causing Cory to conclude that his father does not even like him” (48). When Cory alludes to the question of his father liking him, Troy responds, “…. cause I like you? You about the biggest fool I ever saw. ” He continues with, “You my flesh and blood. Not ’cause I like you! Cause it’s my duty to take care of you.

I owe a responsibility to you! (Wilson, 38). Later in the play, in the end of Act Two, Scene Four, Troy and Cory fight physically, and after Troy tells Cory to leave his house, and Cory says he will return for his things, Troy tells him, “They’ll be on the other side of that fence” (Wilson, 89). Troy has not only put Cory out physically, but has metaphorically put his son on the other side of the fence, away from him. Troy Maxson builds a fence so strong he thought he could keep death himself out.

In the end of Act Two, Scene Two he tells Death, “See now…. I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I’m gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side… You stay on the other side of that fence until you ready for me (Wilson, 77). There is also the literal fence in the play, which Rose wants Troy to build around their yard. Troy wonders why Rose would want a fence when they have virtually nothing of value to steal.

Bogumil believes that, “A fence to Rose has spiritual significance, solace to comfort her during the times she must intervene in the dysfunctional relationship between her son Cory and husband Troy… (48). The beginning of Act One, Scene Two begins with Rose singing to herself, “Jesus, be a fence around me every day…. ” (Wilson, 21). While Troy is building fences to keep people out, Rose builds a fence to keep them in, as she, “dearly desires to preserve the family she has never had” (Bogumil, 48). Rose herself says to Troy, “… ou know I ain’t never wanted no half nothing in my family. My whole family is half….. Can’t hardly tell who’s who (Wilson, 68).

Alan Nadel believes that Wilson is making a political statement with the metaphor of a fence. He sets up his argument with the assertion that. “the idea of a fence is inextricable from the idea of property” (86). He continues in this vein, linking property to humans, linking humans as a form of property to the days of slaveholding. He then says that one of the human ideals of freedom was in ownership; ownership of property.

He states that in previous times, “Race or skin color was just such a fence. It served to separate blacks from humans, denying blacks the properties of humans and giving to humans property rights over blacks” (87). He claims that in the North, “The boundaries were less clear, the fences less sturdy” (87). Nadel believes that legally, the Dred Scott decision and the Fugitive Slave Law decided that property rights were universal while human rights were local. The Mason Dixon line resulted from the Missouri Compromise and was in violation of the fifth amendment.

Because of this, Nadel states that, “these laws and decisions mandated that the humanity of blacks be treated as a metaphor, while their non-humanity-their condition as property-be treated as literal” (87). The fence then, in August Wilson’s Fences, according to Nadel, was the opposing attitudes held towards blacks during these times, that their freedom was, “not literal but figurative” and that. ” The Mason-Dixon line… became the universal metaphoric fence that marked the properties of race as criteria for inhumane treatment” (88).

Nadel relates this to Fences by saying that Troy Maxson’s struggle to build a fence around his property, making it human, is really Wilson’s way of showing the internalization of the metaphoric Mason-Dixon line. He also believes the name Maxson, “suggests a shortened Mason-Dixon” and that Troy’s “character similarly embodies the personal divisions that come from living in a world where the Mason-Dixon line exists as the ubiquitous circumscription of black American claims to civil rights. ” (89).

The vital element to keep in mind while reading Fences is that while Troy Maxson is a tragic character who ultimately alienates himself from family and friends because of his inability to adapt with the changing world, he has good intentions and actually believes he is doing the right thing for his family. Peter Wolfe categorizes Troy’s character perfectly when he claims that, “his greatest enemy remains himself” (65). Responsibility plays a large role in Troy’s beliefs. This is reflected when Cory asks Troy if he likes him. Troy’s response is violent, and heartfelt, when he exclaims, “It’s my job.

It’s my responsibility! You understand that? A man got to take care of his family” (Wilson,38). It is important to Troy to instill this sense of responsibility in his sons. When he is speaking to Rose about this outburst he explains, “He’s got to make his own way. I made mine”(Wilson, 39). Troy also wants his sons to have opportunities he did not. He does not want Cory to get his hopes up, and then dashed down as he did when he tried to enter the athletic arena. Again, he tells this to Rose when he says,”I don’t want him to be like me!

I want him to get as far away from my life as he can get” (Wilson, 39). When Bono confronts Troy about his increasing interest in Alberta, Troy defends himself with the words, “I ain’t ducking the responsibility of it” (Wilson, 63). And when he tells Rose of his infidelity he says, “Rose, you ain’t the blame…. I’m responsible for it’ (Wilson, 69). Although Troy does not always do what is right, as Elkins states, “With both his sons, Troy tries to promote responsibility to family over responsibility to personal pursuits” (Elkins, 167).

This is his reasoning for not allowing Cory to try for the football scholarship, for wanting him to keep working at the A, as this is his reasoning for offering Lyons a job working with him at the garbage company. Wolfe claims that, “Duty for him always outranks love” (Wolfe, 66). Troy values work more than personal pursuits because his own dream of being a major league baseball player was denied him. He is looking out for the best interests of his children, hoping they do not choose the wrong path as he did, out of genuine care, and a sense of responsibility and duty to his family.

Wilson himself defends Troy’s resolution regarding his decision of not allowing Cory to play football, stating, that, ” When blacks went to universities on athletic scholarships, they were in fact exploited. Very few got an education. Troy is correct when he tells the kid that the white man ain’t gon’ let you get nowhere with that football. As a man born in 1904 and illiterate he’s telling his son to get a job so he won’t have to carry garbage” (Elkins, interview with Wilson, 168). Fences is a masterpiece! An extended metaphor about a black family.

A black family trying to find a place for themselves in the late fifties and early sixties It is a play about Troy Maxson, who builds so many ‘fences’ around himself that he succeeds in alienating himself from everyone he cares about and from the world that is rapidly changing around him. Wilson shows this more specifically by Troy’s disintegrating relationship with his son, Cory, and his wife, Rose. As Bono said, “Some people build fences to keep people out… and other people build fences to keep people in” (Wilson, 61). Troy Maxson built them to isolate himself and to keep out the people he loved the most.

Works Cited

  1. Bogumil, Mary L. Understanding August Wilson. University of South Carolina Press, Colombia:1999.
  2. Elkins, Marilyn. August Wilson: A Casebook. Garland Publishing Inc. , New York: 2000.
  3. Nadel, Alan. May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson. University of Iowa Press, U. S. :1994.
  4. Pereira, Kim. August Wilson and the African American Odyssey. University Of Illinois Press, Chicago:1995.
  5. Wilson, August. Fences. Penguin Books U. S. A. Inc. , New York:1986.
  6. Wolfe, Peter. August Wilson: Twayne’s United States Authors Series. Ed. Frank Day. Twayne Publishers, New York:1999.

The Concept Of The Afterlife Is Incoherent

This is traditionally a Christian concept, and the scatological belief entails that God will raise the dead back o life at the end Of time on Judgment Day, where he will decide the fate Of all individual humans – whether one should go to the eternal Kingdom of God from which sinners will be excluded – based on their morality during their earthly existence. Therefore, to Christians, the notion of an afterlife should be coherent as it is consistent with their beliefs.

For example, SST Paul argued that since Jesus was resurrected, Christians should also hope to go through the same experience; and that due to God having the role of creator, humans would believe that he is able to make human bodies perfect in the afterlife, as he has created many types of bodies in nature, within our current reality. It is also derived from Biblical passages, such as Ezekiel 37, where God shows Ezekiel a valley of dry bones and states that he will be able to ‘make these live again’.

However, there are also other philosophers who find the idea of a bodily resurrection incoherent, as resurrection is a difficult idea to justify rationally and philosophically, and can be more easily claimed as an article of faith. For example, David Jenkins interpreted Jesus’ resurrection to have a deeper significance, rather than taking it literally at face value – “it is not a conjuring trick with bones”. It is also ambiguous what an resurrected body would look like due to the overwhelming amount of interpretations.

Early Christians believed that resurrection was some sort of transformation, whilst SST Paul describes a ‘spiritual body. Hence, this idea of the afterlife will not be persuasive or coherent to non-believers, as they are based on scripture alone with no empirical evidence. Despite being a materialist and a monist, Hick attempted to maintain the ‘unity of body and soul’ in a psycho-physical unity, and still believed that life after death is coherent and logically possible, through the replica theory.

This was a thought experience to defend his notion of bodily resurrection, to show that it is a divine action where an exact replica is created in a different place. He uses an analogy Of a man going missing in London and reappearing in New York, and that the replica of the original He distinguishes the difference tenet the person in the afterlife being a replica, and not a copy, as a copy suggests that the object can be infinitely reproduced. Replica implies that there is only one version.

Even though he uses the term ‘replica’, which in ordinary terms implies an exact copy or model, he specifically uses the quotation marks to imply that he uses the term in a different way – as he believes that the body is perfected by God, he also believes that there is only one copy of an individual. Hick uses the work ‘replica’ because he believes hat a person can only exist in one place and time, as our identities are unique. Hence, our replica is the real person, as part of being a human is having an individuality, which would be undermined if there were a multiple copies of ourselves in the afterlife.

Many would argue that the human body is the source of flaws and limitations, which would mean that the afterlife may be better off consisting of non-material souls, with the body being discarded as unimportant in comparison. This is called an disembodied existence, where the body is temporary and the soul is eternal. The philosophical view hat the soul/mind exists separately from the body is called dualism. Dualism is the belief that body and soul and the mind are separate entities.

Plato presents arguments for the immortality of the soul- the cyclical argument, which deems that everything comes into existence from its opposite (e. G. Awake and asleep, dead and alive), which makes the cycle of birth and death coherent; and the recollection argument, where Plato believed that the knowledge we acquire is not learned, but recollected or remembered from the realm of forms before coming into the body, using the example of a slave ay who has no education, but can grasp complex mathematical concepts.

The belief that we can survive without a body is also advocated by Richard Sinecure, as he draws a line between thoughts and actions, suggesting that consciousness can exist independently of the body. He also claims that surviving outside the body is a logical concept – because we can imagine it, it is possible (l know, I know). He also says that our use of language points to body and soul being separate; we say ‘l have a body’, not ‘l am a body’. However, Brian Davies criticizes Sinecure’s view as incoherent, because just cause we imagine something does not mean it is therefore possible.

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