SSI1 161

Social Order and Human Freedom

This seminar examines the apparent, and perhaps genuine, contradiction between the concepts of social order and individual freedom. An ordered society implies that people generally do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. Our casual observation of society confirms persistent patterns to human behavior. At the same time, however, most of us cling to the notion of our individual freedom and our legal system is indeed premised upon this assumption. The central question then is this: Are we truly free or do we simply follow the patterns our society has constructed for us? The relationship between the individual and society has captured the attention of some of the greatest sociologists, philosophers, historians, and literary figures. With only slight exaggeration one might say it is the central question of Western Civilization, especially since the Enlightenment. This course provides an introduction to this important area of human inquiry. Affiliate department: Sociology and Anthropology.