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 ?
But, in course of time, the territory was partly regranted to more favored individuals, and partly cleared and occupied by actual settlers.
It pained, and at the same time amused me, to behold the terrors that attended my advent, to see a furrowed cheek, weather-beaten by half a century of storm, turn ashy pale at the glance of so harmless an individual as myself; to detect, as one or another addressed me, the tremor of a voice which, in long-past days, had been wont to bellow through a speaking-trumpet, hoarsely enough to frighten Boreas himself to silence.
The author hopes she has done justice to that nobility, generosity, and humanity, which in many cases characterize individuals at the, South.
It is true, however, that it is not customary to pull down all the houses of a town with the single design of rebuilding them differently, and thereby rendering the streets more handsome; but it often happens that a private individual takes down his own with the view of erecting it anew, and that people are even sometimes constrained to this when their houses are in danger of falling from age, or when the foundations are insecure.
These questions cannot be fully answered, without supposing that the fears of discord and disunion among a number of counsellors exceeded the apprehension of treachery or incapacity in a single individual.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm for the workman.
FEELING is, among our Women and lower classes -- about our upper classes I shall speak presently -- the principal test of recognition, at all events between strangers, and when the question is, not as to the individual, but as to the class.
The training of myself and the young Martians was conducted solely by the women, who not only attend to the education of the young in the arts of individual defense and offense, but are also the artisans who produce every manufactured article wrought by the green Martians.
Thus 'man' is predicable of the individual man, and is never present in a subject.
This enterprising and intrepid traveller was twice baffled in individual efforts to accomplish this great journey.
That a city then precedes an individual is plain, for if an individual is not in himself sufficient to compose a perfect government, he is to a city as other parts are to a whole; but he that is incapable of society, or so complete in himself as not to want it, makes no part of a city, as a beast or a god.
When I meet a pure intellectual force or a generosity of affection, I believe here then is man; and am presently mortified by the discovery that this individual is no more available to his own or to the general ends than his companions; because the power which drew my respect is not supported by the total symphony of his talents.

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