… is from Jim Buchanan’s and Geoff Brennan’s 1985 book, The Reason of Rules:
The individual is the unique unit of consciousness from which all evaluation begins. Note that this conception does not in any way reject the influence of community or society on the individual. The value structure of an isolated human being may be totally divergent from that of such a person described by membership in one or many social relationships. The presupposition requires only that societal or communitarian influences enter through modifications in the values that are potentially expressed by the individually and not externally.
This above is fine description of methodological individualism – a scientific presupposition that is too frequently mistaken as being an assumption that each individual’s preferences emerge only from within each individual and are not affected in any significant ways by other people.
I choose this quotation today because today is Jim Buchanan‘s 92nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Jim!