Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jack Hayward, Brian Barry, and Archie Brown

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262948

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262948.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

: The Critique of Individualism

: The Critique of Individualism

(p.89) 4: The Critique of Individualism
The British Study of Politics in the Twentieth Century

Alan Ryan

British Academy

This chapter focuses on the thought that ‘rational, economic man’ may be a useful figment of the economists’ imagination but is not a useful figment of the social and political theorist’s. After some remarks about the strength of individualism in British political thought, the chapter discusses the post-1945 debate over the virtues of ‘methodological individualism’ and its supposed political implications. The argument then begins in earnest with the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Idealist critique of the ‘narrow individualism’ that Idealists believed underlay utilitarianism and earlier forms of liberalism. The discussion also cites some British contributions to the Marxist critique of rational economic man, and ends with a very short discussion of communitarianism.

Keywords:   economic man, individualism, British politics, methodological individualism, Marxist, communitarianism

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.