Thursday, April 2, 2020

How Nominalist is Individualism?

The individualism of Max Stirner, Ayn Rand, and Murray Rothbard is rooted in the nominalist doctrine, which, developed by William of Ockham in the 14th century, became a powerful trend in the philosophy of the late middle ages. According to nominalism, universals do not correspond to reality because they are mere names and the existence of a name does not imply the existence of a particular thing that it names—but this point of view is relatable to the modern individualist doctrine which asserts that man must be viewed as the “I,” or the particular individual, and not as the “we,” or the group to which he belongs. The irony is that the modern individualist thinkers reject nominalism in their epistemology, while in the area of human affairs they are rigid nominalists.

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