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Re: [existlist] Towards a definition

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  • eupraxis@aol.com
    Louise, It would seem that your notion of individuality here is tied to that of freedom. That is a familiar theme from Kant onwards, and I do not have great
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 6, 2010
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      Louise,

      It would seem that your notion of individuality here is tied to that of freedom. That is a familiar theme from Kant onwards, and I do not have great problems with it as such.

      Wil


      -----Original Message-----
      From: shadowed_statue <hecubatoher@...>
      To: existlist <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Fri, Aug 6, 2010 5:16 pm
      Subject: [existlist] Towards a definition





      Kierkegaard has much to say of the single individual not only in his pseudonymous works, but in his journals, for instance, this from 1850:

      "Julius Muller makes the excellent observation that if one says that the doctrine of personality speaks not of the race but of the single person as atomic - then what does the word "individual" mean? Is not the individual an atomon* which in no way can be regarded as a mode or affection of another."

      I was listening recently to the BBC radio four programme, "All in the Mind", which carried a report from American high-security jails, where there was much use of solitary confinement. The long-term effects of this treatment could not uncommonly - by the testimony of a professional who saw this first-hand - result in extreme reactions, such as smearing faeces over the body or eating parts of the body. This is the despair of the individual, and if the dignity of the individual is respected, instead of its atomism made into a form of torture, there will be at least the possibility of hope.

      Now I am being a little dogmatic, and hurried, in my venture toward a definition. The subject affects me that way. I could decide not to post this message, until I have deliberated for another half-hour. This is an individual decision. There is a concrete example of what I mean. Who else is there, to make this decision? I am free to scrub the whole thing if I wish. It is responsibility, and seems at present crystal-clear to me. To abandon the concept of the individual seems inexplicable. Is it not a form of abandonment, to declare the individual an abstraction?

      Well, one might say, no, all we need is biology. You are a woman, not an individual. But to call me a woman rather than an individual is to loose me into a grouping, like calling an elephant an elephant. We do not hold elephants ethically responsible.

      After due deliberation, I post these movements toward a definition, and toward an explanation of why the individual, as a mode of being, has value.

      Louise









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