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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Society and The Individual

    Which is ontologically a priori? Which came first? Are individuals a product of society and individualism itself a social construct or is it the opposite?

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    Senior Member esidebill's Avatar
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    I like to think that society is just a bunch of individuals working at once. I mean, the idea of an individual can be seen as a priori because you don't really need to test to know there is one, there simply is. There are theoretical cases where there may not be a society. A society is a group of persons living together in a community involving science, culture, religion etc. So does a group of individuals who have no role in each others lives create a society? I wouldn't think so.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esidebill View Post
    I like to think that society is just a bunch of individuals working at once. I mean, the idea of an individual can be seen as a priori because you don't really need to test to know there is one, there simply is. There are theoretical cases where there may not be a society. A society is a group of persons living together in a community involving science, culture, religion etc. So does a group of individuals who have no role in each others lives create a society? I wouldn't think so.
    So there's no such thing as society?

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    Senior Member esidebill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    So there's no such thing as society?
    Theoretically if a human were alone, yes society is an illusion.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Interesting. I do think in some sense that is correct in that people presently choose to associate or deassociate from others, despite a certain interdependency being unavoidable, although that may be society in the sense of company or community or togetherness, not in a systemic sense, like "the human ecosystem".

    While it appears self-evident and objective that individuals exist this could just mean that the social cosntruct is successful and serves society very well, at another time perhaps it was not individualism but say monarchy or fifdom which appeared natural or ordained reality in the same way?

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    Senior Member esidebill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Interesting. I do think in some sense that is correct in that people presently choose to associate or deassociate from others, despite a certain interdependency being unavoidable, although that may be society in the sense of company or community or togetherness, not in a systemic sense, like "the human ecosystem".

    While it appears self-evident and objective that individuals exist this could just mean that the social cosntruct is successful and serves society very well, at another time perhaps it was not individualism but say monarchy or fifdom which appeared natural or ordained reality in the same way?
    Hmm. Well a social construct would just be the choices of many individuals, or perhaps just an individual, that "change the world". Of course this would serve a society very well as change has always been needed. To say that any rule like a monarchy or fiefdom is not still individualistic is silly. If you see the ruler as the individual controlling the social construct of course. So I still think individualism exists regardless of government type. The only one I can think of is something like perfect communism where everyone shares everything, so theres no individual but a whole.
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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by esidebill View Post
    Hmm. Well a social construct would just be the choices of many individuals, or perhaps just an individual, that "change the world". Of course this would serve a society very well as change has always been needed. To say that any rule like a monarchy or fiefdom is not still individualistic is silly. If you see the ruler as the individual controlling the social construct of course. So I still think individualism exists regardless of government type. The only one I can think of is something like perfect communism where everyone shares everything, so theres no individual but a whole.
    Hmm, I was thinking less of styles of government than social institutions, when monarchy and fifdom existed it was more a result of expediency or organic evolution than conscious choices and rational decision making if you know what I mean, I used those examples less because I felt they werent individualistic, honestly I think they may or may not be, but because they were accepted as real, inevitable, ordained and objective the way that individualism and individuality are presently.

    I wasnt really thinking iwth a view to discussing communism, perfect or imperfect.

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    Senior Member esidebill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Hmm, I was thinking less of styles of government than social institutions, when monarchy and fifdom existed it was more a result of expediency or organic evolution than conscious choices and rational decision making if you know what I mean, I used those examples less because I felt they werent individualistic, honestly I think they may or may not be, but because they were accepted as real, inevitable, ordained and objective the way that individualism and individuality are presently.

    I wasnt really thinking iwth a view to discussing communism, perfect or imperfect.
    Sorry to bring up the red, haha. I just couldn't help to think since you were mentioning certain governments. OK, I see what you're saying. So as a result of expediency, that would mean that monarchy would be seen as the end in view. Nothing else but monarchy would work. Today, through a system of thinkers rather than a thinker, we have created a more individual based society. That idea of a social construct took us out of the monarchs and fiefdoms.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Xyk's Avatar
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    Well an individual can exist without a society, but a society cannot exist without individuals. A society can theoretically exist without emphasis on the individual, if humans were like ants, but for the most part, I'd say individuals are the more basic element. I would be interested to see what would happen to a person raised in perfect communism who was then totally removed from society. I think I could probably imitate this by putting a single ant alone in an antquarium and giving it some food, but it's not the same.

  10. #10
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    At least to me many things started making a lot more sense when I started to think myself less like a separate being. In different social settings my individuality is modified more than I could modify it myself. Strangely, I am very individualistic too. I don't believe that society has any inherent right to demand anything from me.

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