How do we become who we are? 

What unites, and what divides us?

These questions can be investigated from various points of view: politics, philosophy, history, psychology, or social sciences like sociology and anthropology. 

A famous anthropologist, Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) wrote: "What pattern connects the crab to the lobster and the orchid to the primrose and all the four of them to me? And me to you?" 

This website brings together some interesting texts that address the social and historical  dimensions of human life. They outline the basic ideas behind social theories and various political philosophies. 

The website was created to summarize ideas, raise questions, and offer discussion points for classes in political philosophy. 

The relationship between the individual and society is not static. It has changed over time, and is shaped by a political process. A good example for this process that creates order and empowers the individual is the history of human rights

The development of social theory became a necessity when societies began to change with the beginnings of modernity in the 17th century. Enlightenment philosophies in the 18th century elevate the individual above unreasonable or authoritarian government: Reason should rule, but it requires that individuals think for themselves. 

History and the change in human civilization are driven by scientific and technological innovations. Below is a timeline of some breakthroughs in the last 500 years; the list could be a lot longer, and the pace of innovation has increased dramatically in recent years. One of the reasons for this acceleration is synergy: we can use one innovation to leverage others, for instance: computers allow us to simulate tests, so we can invent smarter things even faster and revolutionize every area of life.

Technological progress does not translate into real progress for humanity.

Global Events in the last 100 Years

Technological Innovations in Modern Times 

What is Political Philosophy?

Political philosophy exists at the intersection of ethics, history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. It tries to integrate all of these disciplines and it examines the philosophical foundations of human society: What is the relationship between the human being and society, what are the basic values that we should strive to implement in communal life, or what creates cohesiveness and order in a society? Is it religion, a shared political ideology, or history, culture and language? How should the decision-making process and the leadership be organized? What is the nature of the political? What determines the social links that connect and disconnect us?

In order to answer some of these questions, political philosophy examines and defines basic concepts like freedom, equality, democracy, power, justice, and the State.

Political philosophy does not just describe how politics functions (which is a task for political science), but it also reflects on the deeper needs and expectations we have for the political process: justice and peace. 

External Links about political philosophy:  Internet Encyclopedia ~ New World Encyclopedia ~ Wikipedia

What is Sociology? 

Sociology studies human social behavior as well as its origins and development. It is not limited to individual human behavior; it also examines social units like families, classes, states, organizations, and other institutions. As a social science it uses a combination of methods from empirical investigation to critical analysis in order to develop a body of knowledge about human social actions, social structure and functions. Sociological insights can be applied to the creation of social policies and the advancement of social welfare. Its goal is to refine the theoretical understanding of social processes, from the micro level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.

Traditionally, sociology focuses on the dynamics that create and maintain social classes, issues of social mobility, or social institutions like religions, law enforcement, and social deviance. Today, everything social is fair game for sociologists: the health care system, diseases, medical, educational, military or penal institutions, the Internet and everything that is related to it, environmental sociology, political economy, or the role of social organization in the development of scientific knowledge.

Accordingly, the methods are rich. Sociologists use qualitative and quantitative techniques; they employ interpretative, hermeneutic, or philosophical approaches to the analysis of society. new technologies create new opportunities for the discipline. Computers and the increasing availability of data allows new analytic and computational techniques, such as agent-based modelling or social network analysis.

Quotes about Sociology