MC 201 (3) - MC 201 Essay On the notion of individualism,...

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MC 201 Essay On the notion of individualism, John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville tend to have divergent outlooks. Mill casts a positive light upon the view of individuality. He has the conviction that individuality is essential to the progression of civilization. On the other hand, Tocqueville visualizes negative tendencies of Individualism. He interprets it as a menace to democratic society. Although Mill and Tocqueville differ on the intrinsic nature of Individualism, both intellectuals agree it leads to consolidation of public opinion and vulnerability to majority tyranny. For Mill, individuality was an elemental part of well-being. Utilizing perception, judgment, mental activity, and moral preference—when making a choice—is to claim control of ones character. Fostering behavior that encourages humans to use all faculties of the brain to make decisions was lacking according to mill. Mill argues for individuality by stating, “diversity not an evil, but a good, until mankind are much more capable than at present of recognizing all sides of the truth…there should be different experiments of living; free scope given to variety varieties of character” (pg. 65). To illuminate, Mill adds that when situations do not concern others, individuality should reign free. Human beings must make their own choices, under their own reasoning, to develop and nurture a sharp mind. Harning 2 Alexis de Tocqueville deemed individualism as more of a human feeling than a part of the human condition. Inborn to democracy, he observed that individualism made a citizen withdraw into the confines of their family. According to Tocqueville, not only was individualism inherently reclusive, it is a deplorable mode of operating. He writes
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that individualism, “springs from wrong-headed thinking rather than depraved feelings. Originates as much from defects of intelligence as from mistakes of the heart.”
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This note was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course MC 112, 111, taught by Professor Lscott,petrie,walling during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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MC 201 (3) - MC 201 Essay On the notion of individualism,...

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