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Ancient and Modern Individualism

There are two broad definitions of individualism. In political terms, it is a political doctrine associated with liberalism that emphasises the autonomy, importance, and freedom of the individual in relation to society and state. Secondly, it is the culture associated in modern society with private property, consumption, and subjectivity. Individualism is often thought to be an important component of Western culture per se with its origins in both Greco-Roman civilization and Christianity. However, the doctrine had its modern roots in seventeenth-century religious dissent, especially the Protestant sects, and it is interpreted as a fundamental ideology of capitalism. In economic theory, the fictional character Robinson Crusoe is often taken to be the quintessential representative of individualistic capitalism.

As a term of condemnation, individualisme was ...

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