argument top image

What is society? Show more Show less
Back to question

Societies have been a core part of human interaction since the beginning of mankind. But what is society? A shared geography? A shared culture? Coming together to work towards a shared goal? Do they even exist?

Society is sharing a common goal Show more Show less

Societies form around the need to collaborate to solve a common problem or pursue a common goal.
< (3 of 6) Next position >

Without society, man is selfish

In the absence of society, humans become selfish and ego-centric as self-preservation becomes the sole focus.

Context

Without society, man would be brutal, nasty and selfish. Humans’ sole concern would be self-preservation and the preservation of one’s family. We form societies to work with others towards a shared goal.

The Argument

A society’s core function is to protect and preserve those within it. We form societies as a way to work towards a shared goal. We establish a set of rules that reflect our goal, and we all behave in a way so as to observe those rules and further our society for the collective benefit.[1] This is evident in the way humans behave in the absence of a society. When society is weakened, humans become more selfish, more ego-centric and less compassionate. Each person or family becomes focused on self-preservation and survival and the common goal collapses and is replaced by the individual goal.

Counter arguments

While this may have once been the case, there is scant evidence to suggest that modern societies consist of groups working towards a shared goal. In early societies, members of a society might trade with members of another society to procure products that would benefit the collective. This fundamental economics supports the idea that, at one point, collective groups may have formed around the existence of a shared goal. However, modern economic models show no evidence of a shared goal. The whole economic system has shifted from a model designed to offer protection and shared security, to one which speculates for the sake of speculation. The modern economic system promotes competition and encourages individuals to chase wealth at the expense of their counterparts. In the postmodern world, we cannot define societies as collectives working towards a shared goal. In light of modern economic models, we can only reasonably conclude that societies are born from something other than a shared objective, or that societies, as they were originally devised, no longer exist.[2]

Proponents

Framing

To best understand what something is, it can be helpful to examine what would happen if it were eradicated. In the case of society, if it were eradicated, man would become selfish and ego-centric, with each individual focused on their individual goal. Therefore, society unites people around a shared goal.

Premises

[P1] When there is no society, people lose sight of common goals and become selfish. [P2] Therefore, society unites people around a common goal.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Modern economic models demonstrate the opposite. In modern societies, the common goal has been replaced by the individual pursuit of wealth.

References

  1. https://people.howstuffworks.com/what-is-society.htm
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03906701.1997.9971223
This page was last edited on Friday, 6 Mar 2020 at 12:09 UTC

Explore related arguments