By Paul Zumthor
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Additional info for Le masque et la lumiere
By using the phrase at all, did he imply that 'social properties' existed in a different sense from 'individual properties' and if so was this precisely the sense which anti-Holists had been so concerned to eradicate, namely the imputation of a reified existence to insubstantial concepts? ) As matters stood, the Collectivist method of explanation had indeed reinforced the Collectivist ontology, but this was stated in such a tentative manner that it only served to keep the already converted going.
Let us consider first the relationship between Psychologism and Individualism. Here for a change the Individualist stands as the antireductionist vis-a-vis the advocates of psychologism who argue that there are yet 'lower level' entities, that is, psychological properties, which should be regarded as the real, rock-bottom constituents of social life and everything above them can be reduced to them and thus be explained by them,13 Now, the Individualist rejects the view that society can be explained as some sort of reflection of psychological characteristics.
Specifically, this means showing that, in relation to people, social structure is not: (i) autonomous or 15 16 Watkins, 'Methodological individualism', p. 271. Watkins, 'Methodological individualism', p. 278n. Individualism versus Collectivism 43 independent, (ii) pre-existent, (iii) causally efficacious. Collectivists have argued that they fail on all three counts and their arguments are persuasive. (i) If autonomy is to be withheld from the social context and it is to be denied any independence from people, this means the Individualist must vindicate the claim that it can be treated as nothing other than an aggregate of individuals, which as such has no independence from its constituents therefore our social environment is constituted by 'interpersonal relations'.