For the sake of the whole

Critical Review 4 (3):301-325 (1990)
Louis Dumont is a distinguished Indianist but his later work has undertaken to ground an allegedly general need for holism and hierarchy in comparative historical sociology. Dumont's anti?individualist thrust, depicting as it does modern Western culture as an aberration, a kind of social disease inviting in the long run an even worse cure?the nemesis of totalitarianism? enjoyed in the 80s the status of a modern classic of sociological wisdom. Even those who, like the new humanist thinkers in France (Luc Ferry, Alain Renaut, Tzvetan Todorov) fight the influential antimodern stances of Heidegger or Leo Strauss, have come to share Dumont's strictures against individualism. This paper describes the main theses of Dumont's latest book, translated into English as Essays on Individualism, while at the same time sketching a liberal critique of his anti?individualist bias.
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    Colin Morris (1972/1987). The Discovery of the Individual, 1050-1200. University of Toronto Press in Association with the Medieval Academy of America.
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    Mikkel Gerken (2007). A False Dilemma for Anti-Individualism. American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):329-42.
    Louis Dumont (1985). A Modified View of Our Origins. In Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins & Steven Lukes (eds.), The Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, History. Cambridge University Press.

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