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Philosophical Theories about the Formation

of Society
Society and Culture with Family Planning, Peace Education and Gender
and Development
Plato
(429-347 B.C.E.)
• A student of Socrates
• Known for his “The Republic”
• Societies are formed out of individual necessity or towards a particular purpose
which tends people to become dependent on one another.
• Every individual has his own field of specialization which determines his role in
the society
• The field of specialization maximizes an individual’s full potential making him
more fruitful and beneficial to the society leading to smooth operation of the
whole society
3 classes within a society by Plato:
• Rulers – decision makers; possess wisdom, understand reality and impartiality in
making decisions
• Soldiers – protectors; defends the state against threats; possess courage &
obedience in carrying out orders
• People – the governed; possess the virtue of moderation and ability to set aside
personal desires for a higher position
Aristotle
(384–322 BCE)
• “Father of Western Philosophy.”
• A student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great.
• Known for his work entitled Politics.
• The city is a natural community that is more important than the family. He believed that
the whole is more important than its parts.
• He recognized the importance of family because it creates the structure of society where
loyalty, duty and political involvement are cultivated.
• Man is a political animal. Politics is similar to an organism rather than a machine; None of
the parts can exist without the others.
• Aim of the city: to enable the citizens to live a good life and do noble deeds/actions.
• He believes that the middle class must rule the city because they are capable of
checking the tendency of the few to accumulate wealth.
Confucius
(551–479 BCE)
• Chinese teacher, writer, political analyst and philosopher.
• An individual must be in the company of other people (society), where he will be
able to maximize his full potential, thus making it imperative for people to learn
how to behave in the society where they belong.
• Advocated for the importance of strong family bonds, including respect for the
elder, veneration of one’s ancestors, and marital loyalty.
• Every individual belongs to a specific place in society and has corresponding
duties.
• 5 groups of people :
- ruler and subject
- father and son
- elder brother and younger brother
- husband and wife
- friend and friend
• Confucianism – based on the idea of love and compassion
• Societies with morals and virtues are given highest regards because they are likely
to prosper
• Each member of society must work efficiently and do what is right so there will
be harmony.
Niccolo Machiavelli
(1469–1527)

• Niccolo di Bernardo dei Machiavelli


• Father of modern political science
• Known for his work “The Prince” which served as a guide in ruling a state
• Believed that a Representative government is the ideal government but insisted
on the possibility of forming a good society governed by a monarch. It is the duty
of the Prince to control man towards his inclination to act destructively and that
society should be handled in a practical effective way through good laws and
good armies – the firm foundations of all states
• A good society is possible when leaders are both virtuous and vicious. They
should know how and when to employ force.
John Locke
(1632–1704)
• Father of Classical Liberalism
• An English physicist and philosopher, known for his “Social Contract Theory”; that
the persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon
a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live and
the prime duty of the government is to enact measures that will protect the life,
liberty and property of every subject.
• The prime duty of the government is to enact measures that will protect the life,
liberty and property of every subject
Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778)
• Swiss philosopher whose ideas became the foundation of most Western
philosophies.
• Known for his book, “The Social Contract” and “Emile”
• He described the state of nature as barbaric, lawless and no morality which can
be solved by humans through a social contract thus, natural rights are
abandoned.
• He believes that sovereignty or lawmaking power should be exercised by the
people (direct democracy), thus opposing the idea of having a representative
form of government.
John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
• British philosopher, economist, civil servant and proponent of Utilitarianism
• Known for his work “On Liberty” (freedom of every individual to do what he/she
pleases as long as no harm is done.)
• He recognized the ability of every individual to make decisions. There is a limit on
the authority of the ruler to minimize abuse of power. The government should
interfere only when it is for the protection of the society. (social liberty)
Thomas More
(1478-1535)
• Known for his work entitled “Utopia” (no-place-land) characterized by the
following principles :
1. elimination of private property – everything is publicly owned.
2. universal nature of labor – everyone must partake in the production of essential
products that society needs in order to survive.
3. role of the moderated pleasure in social life – living moderately. The highest
pleasures are experienced by those who are willing to sacrifice their own happiness
for the sake of others.
4. the role of the family as the microcosm of state.
Thomas Hobbes
(1588-1679)
• An English philosopher known for his work “ The Leviathan”
• He believed that human nature is a state of nature wherein each person can do
whatever he pleases without fear of being punished.
• People are by nature egoistic and will continue to promote their own self-
interest.
• He also believes that society is a population of people governed by a sovereign
authority.