Individual

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individual

1. Biology
a. a single animal or plant, esp as distinct from a species
b. a single member of a compound organism or colony
2. Logic
a. an object as opposed to a property or class
b. an element of the domain of discourse of a theory

Individual

 

the indivisible unit of life on the earth. It is impossible to subdivide an individual without losing those qualities that permit the organism to be termed an individual. The individual is the smallest unit that is subject to the action of evolutionary factors within a given biological species. The concept of individual is applicable in full measure only to non-colonial organisms; strictly speaking, the concept is not fully applicable to colonial and symbiotic organisms and organisms that reproduce vegetatively.


Individual

 

a philosophical category referring to a real object as a totality uniting and correlating its two antithetical aspects—the particular and the universal.

Usually the individual is regarded only as something that mediates between the particular and the universal. For example, the concept “Russian” is something universal in relation to each particular Russian and something individual in relation to the concept “Slav.” The concept “Slav” is something universal with respect to the concept “Russian” and something individual in relation to the concept “human being.” But this is only an extensional, quantitative relation. It is correct, but insufficient for comprehending the essence of the category of the individual. Upon closer examination, we see that the individual is not merely an intermediary link between the particular and the universal; it is primarily a principle that unifies the particular and the universal within some totality.

In the cognitive process, the opposites universal and particular are transcended in the category of the individual, which expresses the universal in its real, particular embodiment and expresses the particular in its unity with the universal. Thus, the individual is the realized universal. For example, the Great October Socialist Revolution may be regarded as a concrete, particular manifestation of the lawlike regularities of socialist revolution. The individual is conceived as distinct from all else and as having something that no other objects have; at the same time it is conceived as having manifold connections and lawlike relationships with other objects.

The category of the individual is relative, mobile, and fluid. In one respect, the individual may “approximate” the universal and function and be conceived as something universal in relation to its own particular; in other cases it may function and be conceived as the particular in relation to its own universal. The individual stands, as it were, between the universal and the particular, at the same time including them both “within itself.” The category of the individual is a very important aspect of the cognitive movement into the depth of an object, of the ascent from the abstract to the concrete.

A. G. SPIRKIN

References in classic literature ?
They may love other individuals far better than their relatives,--they may even cherish dislike, or positive hatred, to the latter; but yet, in view of death, the strong prejudice of propinquity revives, and impels the testator to send down his estate in the line marked out by custom so immemorial that it looks like nature.
But it is a strange experience, to a man of pride and sensibility, to know that his interests are within the control of individuals who neither love nor understand him, and by whom, since one or the other must needs happen, he would rather be injured than obliged.
But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an individual, must do justice, cost what it may.
It would be necessary only to know the genus and perhaps the race or variety, to know the individual.
cried the individual who stopped my progress and took my hand.
missis,' an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected.
Here was a unanimous and personal assent, by all the individuals of the community, to the association by which they became a nation.
All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that controversies never arise concerning them.
To these banos, as I have said, some private individuals of the town are in the habit of bringing their captives, especially when they are to be ransomed; because there they can keep them in safety and comfort until their ransom arrives.
And besides these, I know of no other qualities that contribute to the perfection of the mind; for as to the reason or sense, inasmuch as it is that alone which constitutes us men, and distinguishes us from the brutes, I am disposed to believe that it is to be found complete in each individual; and on this point to adopt the common opinion of philosophers, who say that the difference of greater and less holds only among the accidents, and not among the forms or natures of individuals of the same species.
This would be the more likely to take place, as the delinquencies of the larger members might be expected sometimes to proceed from an ambitious premeditation in their rulers, with a view to getting rid of all external control upon their designs of personal aggrandizement; the better to effect which it is presumable they would tamper beforehand with leading individuals in the adjacent States.
Another admits that it ought to be a government over individuals to a certain extent, but by no means to the extent proposed.

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