Social Philosophy

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Marne M. CelmarBSDEVCOM IV-A

SOCIAL PHILOSOPHY
Social philosophy is the philosophical study of questions about social behavior (typically, of humans). Social philosophy addresses a wide range of subjects, from individual meanings to legitimacy of laws, from the social contract to criteria for revolution, from the functions of everyday actions to the effects of science on culture, from changes in human demographics to the collective order of a wasp's nest.

In Social Philosophy the main concepts will be 'property', 'distributive justice' and 'the state'. The purpose of Social Philosophy allows students to critically assess proposed solutions to philosophical problems, initiated by the idea that knowledge and values are relative to a method of investigation, a 'form of life', or design of society. Students will encounter different philosophical positions, giving them the opportunity to experiment with a whole range of new ideas and to use their critical skills in comparing the different positions. Students will gain an understanding of the following concepts: scientific method, positivism, induction, deduction, verification, falsification, corroboration, theory-ladeness of observation, paradigm, anomaly, incommensurability, scientific revolution, scientific relativism, cultural relativism, form of life, hypothetico-deductive explanation, Verstehen, hermeneutics, game theory, prisoner's dilemma, Leviathan, cooperation, culture, sociobiology, evolutionary stable state, leash principle, and determinism. Social Philosophers:

* Socrates
Socrates's contributions to philosophy were a new method of approaching knowledge, a conception of the soul as the seat both of normal waking consciousness and of moral character, and a sense of the universe as purposively mind-ordered. His method, called dialectic, consisted in examining statements by pursuing their implications, on the assumption that if a statement were true it could not lead to false consequences. The method may have been suggested by Zeno of Elea, but Socrates refined it and applied it to ethical problems.His doctrine of the soul led him to the belief that all virtues converge into one, which is the good, or knowledge of one's true self and purposes through the course of a lifetime. Knowledge in turn depends on the nature or essence of things as they really are, for the underlying forms of things are more real than their experienced exemplifications. This conception leads to a teleological view of the world that all the forms participate in and lead to the highest form, the form of the good. Plato later elaborated this doctrine as central to his own philosophy. Socrates's view is often described as holding virtue and knowledge to be identical, so that no man knowingly does wrong. Since virtue is identical with knowledge, it can be taught, but not as a professional specialty as the Sophists had pretended to teach it. However, Socrates himself gave no final answer to how virtue can be learned.

* Baboeuf, Saint-Simon, Fourier, Cabet, Louis Blanc, and Proudhon advocated various ideal systems which ranged all the way from state socialism to a system of anarchy. These schemes were the attempts of dreamers to eliminate the harsh and unjust, social and political systems of Europe by the establishment of an ideal social order. Impractical as many of their schemes were in detail, their writings were highly serviceable in pointing out the evil of existing affairs and suggesting many means of improvement which were brought about later by less radical measures.Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations gave a great impetus to thought concerning the commonwealth. John Stuart Mill's Political Economy and his political philosophy embodied in others of his writings were important contributions to the subject of political science. Mill points out the need of a social science or sociology as a more complete study of human society. Malthus, in his study of the relation of the food...
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