in International law: in American law: The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law states: A "natural person" is "a human being as distinguished from person created by operation of law. A 1910 legal dictionary states: "Individual: As a noun, this term denotes a single person as distinguished from a group or class, and also, very commonly, a private or natural person as distinguished from a partnership, corporation, or association."
In Buddhism, the concept of the individual lies in anatman, or "no-self." According to anatman, the individual is really a series of interconnected processes that, working together, give the appearance of being a single, separated whole. In this way, anatman, together with anicca, resembles a kind of bundle theory. Instead of an atomic, indivisible self distinct from reality, the individual in Buddhism is understood as an interrelated part of an ever-changing, impermanent universe.
regarded history as the gradual evolution of Mind as it tests its own concepts against the external world. Each time the mind applies its concepts to the world, the concept is revealed to be only partly true, within a certain context; thus the mind continually revises these incomplete concepts so as to reflect a fuller reality. The individual comes to rise above their own particular viewpoint, and grasps that they are a part of a greater whole insofar as they are bound to family, a social context, and/or a political order.
With the rise of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard rejected Hegel's notion of the individual as subordinated to the forces of history. Instead, he elevated the individual's subjectivity and capacity to choose their own fate. Later Existentialists built upon this notion. Friedrich Nietzsche, for example, examines the individual's need to define his/her own self and circumstances in his concept of the will to power and the heroic ideal of the Übermensch. The individual is also central to Sartre's philosophy, which emphasizes individual authenticity, responsibility, and free will. In both Sartre and Nietzsche, the individual is called upon to create their own values, rather than rely on external, socially imposed codes of morality.
's Objectivism regards every human as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to their own life, a right derived from their nature as a rational being. Individualism and Objectivism hold that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among humans, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights — and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations. Since only an individual man or woman can possess rights, the expression "individual rights" is a redundancy, but the expression "collective rights" is a contradiction in terms. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.
In biology, the question of the individual is related to the definition of an organism, which is an important question in biology and philosophy of biology, despite there having been little work devoted explicitly to this question. An individual organism is not the only kind of individual that is considered as a "unit of selection". Genes, genomes, or groups may function as individual units. Asexual reproduction occurs in some colonial organisms so that the individuals are genetically identical. Such a colony is called a genet, and an individual in such a population is referred to as a ramet. The colony, rather than the individual, functions as a unit of selection. In other colonial organisms the individuals may be closely related to one another but differ as a result of sexual reproduction.