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淺談 個人主義
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0.          前言

最近【新聞對談】(《中時電子報》)上也有幾次討論(泥土 2006:相關留言)。或許當中國「和平崛起」,民族主義情緒高漲或亢奮的時候,現在有再度分析和探討「個人主義」這個概念的需要。以下我先介紹Popper的詮釋(1),再分別介紹Mill、 Berlin、和Riesman的觀點,最後提出我的詮釋。

1.          Popper

1.1   個人主義和自我主義   

本節和1.2節內容節譯Popper的幾段文字(Popper 1973:第1冊,第6章,99 - 102頁),註釋是我加的

「個人主義」以及「集體主義」之間的問題,和「平等」以及「不平等」之間的問題有密切的關係。在我們深入討論這個議題以前,必須先釐清幾個名詞或術語。

根據牛津字典,「個人主義」有兩個意思:

a)          相對反於「集體主義」;

b)          相對反於「利他主義」。

(英文中)沒有其他的字表達意義a),但(英文中)另有幾個同義字表達意義b),例如:「自我主義」(2)和「自私」。因此,在下文中,我將只用「個人主義」來表達相對反於「集體主義」的意義a)(3)。也許一個簡單的表列方式可以讓大家更清楚的看出來:

(a) 「個人主義」是 (a) 「集體主義」的相反詞;

(b) 「自我主義」是 (b) 「利他主義」的相反詞。

這四個名詞分別指示規範行為準則的某種態度、要求、決定、或建議。我簡單的做個說明:「集體主義」並不等於「利他主義」,也不一定是「自我主義」的相反詞。同樣的,「個人主義者」反對「集體主義」,但她/他也可以同時是個「利他主義者」。也就是說,「個人主義者」可能為了幫助其他的個人而做某些犧牲。因此,我認為這四個名詞中的任何一個,都可以和另一對名詞組合(4)。

「個人主義」是一般人「公義」觀念的成分之一。「公義」並非柏拉圖所宣稱的:「國家的健全及和諧」,它是如亞理斯多德所強調的:一種對待一個的方式。亞理斯多德說:「公義和人息息相關(5)。派瑞可說:「如果我們的鄰居決定自行其是,我不認為我們有理由過問。」他同時又說:

「我們的先人教導我們,不可忘記我們有責任保護被受傷害的人。」

派瑞可這種將「個人主義」和「利他主義」結合在一起的觀念,是我們西方文明的基礎,也是基督教的基本教誨。(新約說:「愛你的鄰人!」它可沒說「愛你的部落!」)這個觀念也是所有源自西方文明的倫理觀所教誨我們的,它也同時鼓舞著西方文明的倫理觀。例如,康德的基本實踐原則是:

「我們一定要確認個人是目的,絕對不可以把他人當做你自己目的的手段。」

1.2   方法論的個人主義

「方法論個人主義」強調集體名詞(如國家或社會團體)的行為或行動,必須從個人的行為或行動來分析或了解(Popper 1973第二冊,第14章,91頁)。

1.3   評論

1)          Popper的論述

我介紹Popper的論述主要在他把「個人主義」和「自我主義」的差別說得很清楚。至於「個人主義」和「平等」及「公義」的關係,Popper是放在對柏拉圖思想批判(攻擊?)的整體論述中來進行,我沒有時間全不譯出。因此,從以上的摘譯中看不出來。

2)          「個人主義」做為「基本假設」或「理論基礎」

a.           「個人主義」在倫理學上主張的是「尊重『個人』的價值」,也就是1.1節中所引述康德的「道德原則」;或孔子說的:「已所不欲,勿施於人」(6)。

b.          在政治學和社會學中,「個人主義」主張的是「在『個人』和『群體』或『社會』間做取捨時的判準可以是『個人』。」也就是我說的:

「做為判斷的基礎,個人和社會之間,個人佔著優先順位。」(胡卜凱 2002:第4節)。

c.           我在此要強調,一切「基本假設」或「理論基礎」,只是「論述」的基準線。它們並不是「判斷」時唯一考量的因素。(我認為) 「判斷」或「選擇」時,一個人要根據「目的」、「情境」、和「後果」,以及參考過去的經驗,全盤考量後,再做「決定」。

3)          方法論個人主義

Popper對「方法論個人主義」的詮釋,和我對「個人主義」的第二個詮釋相近:

「只有個別的生物才有意識,只有個人才能從事有意識的活動。」(胡卜凱 2002:第4節)

不過Popper從心理學方法論切入,我則從「行為者」(社會科學)和「意識」(大腦神經學)的觀點切入。

附註:

1.     Karl R. Popper是20世紀最有名的科學哲學家。他的「反證論」(或譯「證偽論」)是當代科學哲學和科學方法論的主流論述。本文所介紹他的觀點,摘譯自《開放社會及其敵人》一書第6章。該書第一冊(1 - 10章)的大部分內容在批判(攻擊?)柏拉圖思想。我不懂柏拉圖哲學,所以沒有資格或能力評論(胡卜凱 2006:註28)。我只翻譯他這本書中闡釋「個人主義」的文字。

2.    我曾將此詞譯為"個人中心主義"

3.「個人主義」:individualism;「集體主義」:collectivism;「利他主義」:altruism「自我主義」(我曾譯為「個人中心主義」):egoism;「自私」:selfishness

4.          例如:「個人主義者」可以同時是「自我主義者」或「利他主義者」;「集體主義者」亦同。「自我主義者」可以同時是「個人主義者」或「集體主義者」;「利他主義者」亦同。

5.          這句話的出處請見原書第六章註30。

6.          這句話當然不蘊涵「已所欲,施於人。」

參考書目及文章:



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批判《批判個人主義》
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In Mr. Adam’s definition, he said, “Individualism is the political philosophy or ideology that …”.

 

We must presuppose a collective and/or the social if and when we talk about the “political”, otherwise, like he said, we will be talking nonsense. Therefore, the argument of "rules of engagement" Mr. Adam  mentioned in the Individualism And The Concept Of Rights is a relevant one and need be addressed in any serious discussion of individualism. Unfortunately he seems either fail to grasp its relevancy or elect to dismiss it offhand.

 

If a concept does not directly correspond to a natural phenomenon, or it needs a “narrative” to give it a meaning, I call it a secondary or man-made concept. Politics and society are secondary concepts as opposed to concepts pertaining to natural facts. When we discuss a secondary concept, we can not use facts or concepts at the primary level exclusively. We need and must consider factors that make these concepts emerge or compel us to invent them. Individualism is a secondary or even tertiary concept. To refute it on biological ground alone has very little relevancy. 

 

For example, the biological cause of one's existence is vitally important, nobody in his/her right mind will deny this. However, when we talk about politics, we must consider what make a behavior political. To focus only on how one came about would not be sufficient or comprehensive. One of the questions we need to ponder is why are we even in need of the concept of politics or the political.

 

What do we compete for in order to survive first and foremost? Certainly it is not a sexual partner. We compete for food or, generally speaking, resources that we need to maintain our existence. An overlooked “natural fact” when people talk about politics is that resources are scarce, and there is not enough of them to go around. We invented the concept of politics to help us reach an optimal decision on who gets what, when, and how. Hence there comes political philosophy and ideology of every stripe.

 

Animals don’t have a big brain like us human, so most of them obtain resources by brute force and brute force only. Consequently they have no use for politics and ideology. We human have the brain. The brain enables some smart people to obtain resource not only by force but also by cunning, cheating, persuading, and what have you. How to cheat people out of their “rightful” or necessary (in terms of survival) share of resources? One trick is to give people a sound and dance about the Future, the Collective Good, the Benefit of the Mankind, etc.

 

As I see it, individualism is not a philosophical argument to negate the existence or importance of the collective. Rather, it is an ideology or a weapon to debunk the swindle carried out in the name of the collective. If a person doesn’t realize the aforementioned facet of politics, she/he will never fully understand the function of any ideology or “discourse” for that matter.

 

By the way, collectivism is not a “perspective” pure and simple; it is as much an ideology as individualism. And unlike the latter, it is usually used by the cunning, the powerful, and the unscrupulous as a tool to cheat and/or plunder.  

 

Slavery is a historical fact amongst many past human societies. Thanks to the idea, or ideology if you insist, of individualism, it has also become a relic of human evolutionary process. Without the idea of individualism, a lot of ordinary people and/or less “civilized” people would still be living in bondage. 



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批判個人主義 - G. Adam
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A Perspective On Individualism

 

Gerhard Adam, 07/29/09

 

Individualism is the political philosophy or ideology that emphasizes independence and self-reliance. Individualists advance the idea of realizing one's goals and desires, while opposing most external interference upon those objectives, by society, or any outside agency.

Collectivism is a term used to describe any perspective that stresses human interdependence and the importance of a collective or group, rather than the importance of separate individuals. In this view, the emphasis is on community and society
, and priority is given to group goals over individual goals.

How do such seemingly different definitions give rise to the singular phenomenon of
human society? More importantly, how can both philosophical definitions be so completely wrong in describing humans?  Part of the problem can be seen by the bias that is intrinsic in the definitions themselves.   I’ve elected to use some quotes from Ayn Rand to represent the individualist perspective, because her viewpoint is so strident regarding its importance. Interestingly enough, despite our dependence on social groups, most humans do not look favorably on the idea of the “collective”.   I suspect that this may be driven by our biological imperative to set ourselves apart and be recognized by the group, so any effort to make us disappear into the group is considered “bad
”.

Let’s begin by recognizing that regardless of individual desires or beliefs, we cannot escape our
biology. There are many aspects of life that humans can control and will yet control in the future, but our biology is inescapable. Without it, whatever else we may be, it would no longer be human. In addition, we cannot wish away
our biology by brainpower. Once again, there are many aspects of human philosophy and intellect that are clearly subject to modification, but we cannot “think” ourselves out of our biological roots.

These roots include the inescapable fact that we are
social animals that depend on sexual reproduction to propagate our species. As a result, while philosophical concepts such as self-reliance and independence sound good, in truth, they are meaningless
in any real sense.

A concept like independence doesn’t even make sense unless it is placed into the
context of the social group. Clearly as individual organisms we can act in absolutely any manner we choose, however truly independent organisms don’t need to assert their independence. Such an assertion only becomes necessary when we’re attempting to convince
others and ourselves.

Similarly, humans do not normally operate as a collective wherein each member is simply a contributor to a final action. While this does occur in various settings, it is not the primary
mode of our existence. History has demonstrated that humans can survive in numerous different social group configurations
, but there isn’t some implicit biological “critical mass” or group size that could be described in any way that resembles something like a collective organism (i.e. “super-organism” like eusocial insects)

Humans operate in both domains, as individuals and collectives, and to favor one over the other is simply myopic. There can be no preferred position from a biological perspective, since both are essential for human survival. This isn’t to suggest that there isn’t a balance, nor does it suggest that humans may not make things better or worse when tinkering with it, but it is impossible to succeed without both.

 

An individualist is a man who says: “I will not run anyone’s life -- nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone -- nor sacrifice anyone to myself.” -- “Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column, 84

 

Such a view is filled with so many flaws, one hardly knows where to begin. In the first place it requires anarchy and the absence of law. It completely negates the concept of altruism such as that provided by the military, or police and it requires that all individuals confront each other with complete indifference (i.e. no wars of conquest, territory, etc.).

While some of these ideas may be worth pursuing as philosophical or moral objectives, most are
naively pointless, and represent little more than wishful thinking.

 

We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival. -- The Soul of an Individualist, For the New Intellectual, 78.

 

Once again, this is simply rhetorical nonsense. Products do not exist as thoughts of men. A cart doesn’t become an automobile, regardless of how good someone’s idea is. It explicitly requires the cooperation of hundreds or thousands of individuals that are being used as a collective labor pool to achieve this objective.

This was always the flaw in the heroes of novels like
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged
. There was the quantum leap of assuming that the creativity or innovation of these heroes somehow produced results as a single miraculous act. The major complaint of these characters was invariably linked to their lack of appreciation by the collective, rather than any desire to be individualists. If their intent was to be truly independent and individualistic only, then why even bother to share their knowledge or visions?

The creative faculty being referenced may be the property of the creator, but once it leaves his mind, it becomes the property of the collective. Newton’s laws are not rediscovered by every generation. Human society is built on the collective knowledge of individuals, channeled into productive means, and then made collectively available. There is no single man that can be credited with the computer, or the internet. How do such concepts develop if not for the collective approach of data gathering and synthesis?

In fact, the collective group does attempt to recognize individual achievements by assigning names and giving credit where possible, but it would be impossible to live in the society we have if it consisted of nothing but “individualists”.

 

A great deal may be learned about society by studying man; but this process cannot be reversed: nothing can be learned about man by studying society -- by studying the inter-relationships of entities one has never identified or defined. -- “What Is Capitalism?” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 15.

 

Since it is impossible for man to exist outside of society, then by what reasoning does it make sense to study the individual only? There simply is no such thing as an individual human being that survives.

Let me also be clear that this isn’t some arbitrary definition of social group, but rather it is the absolute, unequivocal means by which humans
survive
.

Some species have a much lower need for social interaction. Animals, such as grizzly bears, represent a species that may wander over far-ranging territories and only interact for reproductive purposes, but even this limited lifestyle is beyond the ability of humans to achieve.

True individualistic living is so foreign to human psychology that the concept is used in stories to describe how terrible such an existence would be (consider movies like “I am Legend”/”The Omega Man”). Yet if we neglect the specific circumstances of these stories and focus solely on the lifestyle being presented, the majority of people fail to recognize that this is what living as an “individualist” would actually be like.

Some might argue that that is simply an extreme viewpoint and that they are simply advocating for recognition of individuals and that there is nothing wrong with social interaction. However, this begs the question, since it attempts to rationalize our dependence on the social group by suggesting that we can individually elect to participate and that we only do so voluntarily.

There are many animal species that could rightfully be termed “individualistic”, but humans are not among them.

The values that most humans hold in the highest regard, are meaningless without the context of the group to interpret them. What is fame? Wealth? Achievement? Security? Peace? These are all concepts that mark an individual’s position or relationship within a social group.
They have no meaning outside of that context
.

Even in economics we have ideas like laissez faire which means "
let [the people] do" [for themselves what they know how to do]


Note that this is not an individualistic policy, but rather one of
non-interference
. In effect, it is saying that if people are allowed to behave as they wish, then a process will emerge that the collective can utilize. The “free market” isn’t intended to promote individualism. It is intended to ensure that competition among individuals produces a cooperative group of individuals. In effect it’s a form of “taming the beast”, where the “beast” is the mass of people being controlled.

Social animals always engage in internal competition for
reproductive mates, so it isn’t surprising when a species that can actually articulate such ideas proposes the notion that the “individual” within a group is all important. After all, just like the peacock with its extravagant tail, that’s how we announce ourselves as the most desirable partner in the biological game of sexual selection. While the arguments about individualism may have a certain appeal, it should be clear that by even engaging in such discussions, we demonstrate how little individualism we possess.

 

http://www.science20.com/gerhard_adam/perspective_individualism



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淺論 民族主義
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本文摘自:

《 淺論「 -- 主義」 》, http://www.fokas.com.tw/news/newslist.php?id=82 

1. 民族主義

一個初步的定義可以是:

1) 民族主義:

在決策過程中,以自己所屬民族的利益、榮耀....,站著第一優先順位的思想。

2) 民族主義者:

在決策過程中,以「民族主義」為原則來做決定的人。

種族主義者和帝國主義者 (如希特勒)、或沙文主義者,都可以自稱「民族主義者」(條頓「民族主義者」、法蘭克「民族主義者」)。所以這個定義並不完整,一個較完整的定義可能是:

3) 民族主義:

在決策過程中,以自己所屬民族的利益、榮耀、....,站著第一優先順位的思想;但在此決策過程中,同時也稟持「民族自決」的原則。

這個定義由於加進了「民族自決」的原則,「民族」的概念不再限於「自己所屬的『民族』」,它也包括了 (尊重)其他的「民族」。所以它是一個較完整的定義。

如果我們接受這個定義,我認為:站在「民族主義」的立場,一個人不能不接受「疆獨」、「藏獨」、或「庫 (特族)獨」這些「民族主義」者活動的權利。但這並不表示一個人支持或接受「疆獨」、「藏獨」、或「庫(特族)獨」等活動(1)。

事實是:決定任何獨立或統一活動結果的因素,不是「權利」、「原則」、或這個「主義」,那個「主義」的立場,而是「實力」。例如:美國、阿爾及利亞、越南等獨立成功;秦國、蔣中正統一成功;蒙古、滿清統一 (征服?)成功;北愛獨立、巴勒斯坦建國尚未完全成功;鄭成功統一失敗;金人統一(征服?)失敗等。這些歷史或當代的事件,是毛澤東:「槍桿子出政權」這句話的現實依據。

以上「民族主義」的第二個定義,其實只是在理論層面較完整。在應用層面上,我們還要問:

a. 什麼是「自己所屬民族的『利益、榮耀、....,』?」

b. 「站在誰的立場來評估『民族』的利益、榮耀、....,?」

等等。這些問題不在本文論述範圍 (胡卜凱,2002,第 1節),讀者可以自行思考。

我們可以從這個例子看出,何以:

「如果你不能給 (自己)所用的概念下一個定義,你大概不知道自己在講什麼」。

它也同時顯出一個人的立場和目標,跟他 /她信奉的「主義」之間的相關性。

附註:

1. 請比較伏爾泰說的:「我不同意你說的話,但我支持你說這話的權利」。

參考書目及文章:

胡卜凱, 2002,《《縱欲與虛無之上:現代情境裡的政治倫理》讀後 -- 政治篇》, http://www.fokas.com.tw/news/newslist.php?id=74

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再談 個人主義
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個人和其他的個人(群體或社會的其他成員)是共生關係。這是任何一個理性的人都承認或了解的現實(1)。

因此,「個人」這個概念包括除了自己以外其他的個人。「個人主義」已「預設」承認、肯定、或尊重其他的個人。否則不能稱為「個人主義」,而須改稱「自我主義」或「(單一)個人中心主義」。

我曾根據以上的邏輯概念,寫過一篇討論「民族主義」的短文,轉載於此,謹供參考。

附註:

「理性」的意思就是:接受現實或願意根據經驗來決策的能力或處事方式。 



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