Encyclopedia of Business and Professional Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: Deborah C Poff, Alex C. Michalos


  • John Douglas BishopEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_168-1



Individualism refers to ways of thinking that consider individual agents as fundamental rather than groups, collectives, or communities. There are individualist ways of thinking with respect to values in ethics and political philosophy, with respect to economic theory and to social science methodology, and with respect to government policies and individual behavior.

Individualism in Ethics and Value Theory

Individualism has two aspects: individualism of agents and individualism of the objects of ethical concern. Much of ethics is individualistic in both respects; that is, it concerns the moral assessment of the obligations, actions, and attitudes of specific individuals towards other specific individuals. The obligations of individuals are usually referred to as duties; viewed from the perspective of the individual that the obligations are towards, they are usually referred to as rights (human rights, civil rights, and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • John Douglas Bishop
    • 1
  1. 1.Trent UniversityPeterboroughCanada