Society– Group of people, peoples or nations that coexist under common rules.

Definition: society is a system of usages and procedures of authority and mutual aid of many groupings and divisions, of controls of human behavior and liberties. This ever changing complex system which is called society is a web of social relationships. -Melver and Page

  • A collective of people who coexist, who share a space and collaborate with each other to survive.
  • Common standards, which are respected by all to a greater or lesser extent, and which are transmitted from generation to generation through the socialization process


Theory 1: Natural need for happiness and survival

  • Nature has made human beings fragile, so they need to live together to specialize in tasks and improve their lives.
  • For example, some people work in agriculture, others in construction.
  • Some authors who defend this theory are: Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas…

Theory 2: The desire to preserve life and property

  • We need to live in society to have order and an authority that guarantees security. If there were no common rules and a power to enforce them, you could not keep life and possessions safe from possible attacks.
  • Some authors who defend this theory are: HOBBES, LOCKE, ROUSSEAU

Types of Human Groupings Throughout History

  • Family: Understood as extended family, ie grandparents, parents and children.
  • Village: Grouping of several families that help each other.
  • City: Grouping of several villages around a walled urban nucleus, which serves as a refuge in the event of an enemy attack.
  • State: Groups of many cities and territories organized according to a political power that directly rules the whole population


1. The state arises from the social nature of beings.

  • Nature has propelled human beings to organize themselves in a hierarchical manner, giving the most gifted the right to command and the less gifted must obey. So everyone wins
  • Therefore, nature has established some duties for the most gifted: to take care of the less gifted and organize coexistence. And the Duty of the less gifted is to submit to the most gifted
  • From this point of view, certain inequalities were justified, but also the first steps were made towards the recognition of the rights of the people.
  • This argument was defended by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Thomas Aquinas among other philosophers

2. The state is an artificial institution (the product of a contract or political pact between individuals)

A. Thomas Hobbes

  • Thomas Hobbes described life without government as “Nasty, brutish, and short”
  • Without government, we would all kill each other and steal each other’s property
  • In order to protect our rights, Hobbes felt we should be ruled by a Leviathan

B. John Locke

  • John Locke believed people were reasonable by nature and we all have natural rights: life, liberty, and property.
  • The government is created to protect those rights
  • The power of the government comes from the people.

C. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • Rousseau believed that people are naturally good, but are corrupted by society.
  • He argued that all people are created equal and there should be no rank or titles.
  • He believed that people need to enter in a social contract with each other (not the government)


Absolutism (Hobbes)

  • War of all against all, freedom is limited, the only natural law is to survive at all costs.
  • Individuals renounce all their freedom and cede it to an almighty sovereign to impose peace by force
  • The state must be the guarantee of peace, order and security by establishing the rights it deems appropriate and maintaining strict control over political and religious groups.

Liberal (Locke)

  • Precarious peace. There are natural rights: to life, to freedom, and to property, but every person is their own judge.
  • Individuals renounce the right to punish violations of natural laws, since it is the sovereign who must uphold natural rights.
  • The state must be the protective institution that determines the laws and maintains the rights of all individuals.

Communitarian / Direct Democracy

  • Precarious Peace, no rights, no private property.
  • Individuals give up their freedom to the community, but they have the right to participate in the elaboration of the laws.
  • The state must express the general will and the common interest of all must be the priority, rather than the particular interests of individual.


Socialization: CONCEPT OF SOCIALIZATION: The process of socialization is one that transmits the concrete culture of the social group to which the human being belongs

  • Primary socialization? Consists of the assimilation of the most basic learning for survival and coexistence. All this is learned in the environment that welcomes the new human being through imitation and games, in which the culture of the social group is internalized.
  • Secondary socialization: Covers from adolescence to the end of life. In this stage the person carries out all kinds of learning, some formal and other informal ones

CULTURE: “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” -Edward Taylor

ANTHROPOLOGY: Anthropology is the study of what makes us human.

  • There are four main fields: Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology.
  • Cultural Anthropology: Cultural anthropologists specialize in the study of culture and peoples’ beliefs, practices, and the cognitive and social organization of human groups

Characteristics of culture

  1. Culture is shared by a group of people (which is a society)
  2. Culture is learned rather than biologically inherited
  3. Culture is based on symbols, such as an object of worship, etc
  4. Culture is an integration of economic, political and social acts

Levels of Cultural Internalization

  1. Biological Internalization. Type of food suitable for eating, ways to sit, walk, dance, wash, dress, protect from heat or cold, schedules for each daily task
  2. Behavioral level: How we treat acquaintances and strangers, Making and keeping friendships, Family models, Ways of saying thank you, Ways that we show love, hate, happiness and sadness, How we treat animals, How we show loyalty to our community
  3. Cognitive level: Comprehension of a group language and capacity to communicate in it, Basic social norms, Daily tasks, Comprehension and participation in institutions, Learning a skill / job, Understanding and following directions

Attitudes to Cultural Diversity

  • Ethnocentric-People think that their way of living, speaking, and thinking is the best, and all other ways are incorrect
  • Cultural relativism – People think that all ways of life have the same value, but it’s important to keep and preserve traditions
  • Interculturalism-Promotes dialogue and shared living among many cultural group

Philosophy Notes Unit 4: Truth and Knowledge

Knowledge Vs. Belief: Knowledge requires evidence or reasoning; belief does not

Study of knowledge and cognition

  • Gnoseology-Metaphysical theory of knowledge
  • Epistemology-Study of knowledge/ how we know what we know

Sources of Knowledge: Where does knowledge come from?

Observable Knowledge

  • Things you can see, touch, and measure
  • Perception–things that can be perceived
  • Apparent, concrete, changeable
  • LIMITS: The reliability of our senses
  • BENEFITS: Scientific proof

Rational Knowledge

  • Discover truth through deduction or pure reason
  • We can derive rational knowledge from observable knowledge
  • Unique, abstract, essential
  • LIMITS: Human understanding
  • BENEFITS: Reason allows us to solve some of the problems and difficulties in our lives
  • Theoretical vs. Practical Reason

Theoretical Reason-To know reality, to assess how things are

Practical Reason-Tells us how the world should be, and direct our actions

KNOWLEDGE Justified true belief -›Does truth exist?

The truth does not exist

  • We can’t ever know the truth because our knowledge isn’t truth
  • Skepticism

The truth is relative

  • Relativism: The truth depends on the person, historical moment or culture.
  • Perspectivalism: Each person has a partial view of reality, which forms the truth together.

The truth exists

  • Dogmatism: Human reason can clearly and authoritavely teach the truth.
  • Criticism: True knowledge exists, but it is not unquestionable or definitive, so it can be reviewed.


  • Factual Truth – This truth distinguishes between reality and appearance. Our view of truth depends on what we can measure and agree upon.
  • Propositional Truth- Any sentence which could be either true or false. They can be evaluated in the following ways:

The Correspondence View

  • A proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to the facts: Realism

The Coherence Theory

  • A proposition is true if it coheres with a system of other propositions


  • A claim is true if it is useful (practical causes or real effects)