Relation between Individual and Society
On the one hand, duty as the expression of a person's social mission and, on the other, his society continue to foster the idea of fate, particularly in social relations. .. In this case dialectics means that the freedom of the individual acting in history may be pictured as a stubborn ascent to the cherished peaks of liberty. There's always a dialectical relationship between the concepts of freedom societies make pretences to support freedom and the individual – in the that the “liberty” capitalism/neoliberal culture offers is a false liberty; and. Like “Robinson Crusoe” on a desert island, the bourgeois individual is That was the goal of my “Dialectics and Liberty” trilogy. In social theory, the object of our inquiry is society: social relations, institutions, and processes.
In each country or nation, in a particular cultural context, the personal-social relationship manifests itself in different ways.
Particularly, there is a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern culture when considering this relationship. Within the scope of the article, the author approaches, exploits the similarities of some Eastern countries including Vietnam about the concept and orientation to solve the relationship between the individual and society.
This is considered to be a new direction on the issue that has not been deeply researched during this period. Introduction Individuals and society are historical categories.
Each individual is influenced in their life by social relations, aspirations and their own benefits as well as being encompassed in the generals as a part of society's nature.
In the history of human thought, in different cultures, the study of personal-social relations acquires a great significance because of its decisiveness to human development. It is the dialectical manifestation of the relationship between the part and the whole, which is both consistent and contradictory. The reality, however, is that with fundamentally different characteristics, from a philosophical point of view, the relationship between the individual and society in both the West and the East is approached in its own ways.
It can be said that the individual, the society and the relationship between them are the major point of the history of Western philosophy's study. In particular, from around the 17th to 18th centuries - the age of the philosophical French enlightenment, along with the strong development of capitalism with private ownership, the individualism emerged and gradually became a lifestyle in the culture of the Westerners.
The first is to do whatsoever he thinks fit for the preservation of himself, and others within the permission of the law of nature: And were it not for the corruption and vitiousness of degenerate men, there would be no need of any other; no necessity that men should separate from this great and natural community, and by positive agreements combine into smaller and divided associations.
The other power a man has in the state of nature, is the power to punish the crimes committed against that law. Thus, his doctrine of natural rights which outlined the fundamental rights all humans should enjoy: Locke rejected the divine right of kings to rule, and argued for constitutional government to limit the power of the monarch thus preserving the natural rights of citizens.
The social contracts citizens form with the government binds them to act in support of the common good of society, and for government to do the same. Thus government develops at the consent of the governed and can be dissolved if the citizens believe that their government fails to act in their best interests. The committee which drafted the Declaration of Independence, led by Thomas Jefferson, adapted Locke's concept of natural rights and social contract as the philosophical rationale for breaking with England.
Summary, they assume that the individual is centered, promoted from the fields of politics, economics and also philosophy, culture, etc. Entering the modern Western stage, the individual and society relationship has been increasingly discussed. Philosophy and culture are seen as effective means of communicating about individualism. One of the highlights of Western philosophy at this time is the process of digging into the "personalism" — aims at the value, autonomy and free will of the individual mentally.
Some philosophical movements refer to this aspect as New Positivism, Freudianism, American and French Personality, Existentialism, etc. Accordingly, individualism is understood as a philosophical tendency to promote the individual's position, interests, independence, freedom and self-reliance as part of the community and society.
In that sense, the individual is aware of their own personality. At the same time, individualists often limit the external impact that affects their choices, goals, desires. Independence and self-reliance are they key to individualism. This means that the intervention of social factors on personal life is limited.
In other words, in the relationship between the individual and society, the role of society, community, and the collective is not valued, leading to the manifestation of extremism and individual selfishness. If Western philosophy aims to promote or even absolutize the role and position of the individual, Eastern philosophy, which asserts the dialectical relationship between individual and society, aims at collectivism.
That is a big difference between Eastern and Western thinking. For the East, individuals and the society have traditionally been approached in terms of politics, law, and customs. The highlight of this issue is expressed in terms of thought. It is marked by a system of Oriental doctrines such as Chinese, Indian and Japanese philosophies Under the influence of communal agricultural production, closed economies in villages in a long-term, Eastern cultural thought emphasizes collectivism, the role, and responsibility of individuals towards social life.
It reflects the determinants of social existence to social consciousness, making a difference from Western culture. The Socio-economic basis to generalize that thought is the mode of Asian production - one of the important interpretations of K.
Engels to the East. Accordingly, Eastern thinking is more introverted and closed; promote the communal and social sense, personal awareness in improving the society. This is the dialectic of the individual-social relationship in Eastern culture, which is unique towards Western culture.
However, in the research community, this issue has not been concerned, discussed and built into a system to look into the whole. Researching is a new direction when approached from a philosophical perspective.
Accordingly, the study of the author presents in a systematic way, from the foundation of the formation to the manifestations of individual-social relationships in Eastern culture.
This affirmed the characteristic of Eastern culture in relation to the West. Studying the issue is of great significance in both theoretical and practical aspects.
Theoretically, the author's issue is to illustrate the correctness of the dialectical view between the individual and society.
At any stage, individuals are not separated but placed in relation to society. In particular, society plays a decisive role towards the individual because the nature of the social organization is to solve the relationship of interests in order to create the highest possibility for individuals to carry out activities and stimulate the development.
In addition, personal improvement and responsibility also have an effect on the development of the society. It is a dialectical relationship between the individual and society. On the practical side, research has firstly oriented one of the basics of Eastern culture under the influence of the socio-economic condition when discussing the relationship between the individual and society.
On the other hand, this is an important basis for the author to analyze the changes of this relationship in Vietnam, especially at this stage, in order to promote the responsibility of each individual to the community and society. Thus, every human being is an individual. An individual - a person is an object and a phenomenon that is born, develops in interaction with people in general, not separated from people in general.
However, each individual possesses the specific biological and social characteristics, in order to be distinguished from other members of society. A person is an individual who exists objectively, indivisibly and is characterized by personalities, qualities, abilities, needs, and interests. Moreover, an individual is also a social subject that is independent of self-determination to express his or her own will, should be reflected and respected.
The society is formed by the connection between individuals. Society is the foundation of personal activities. Individuals are the mode of society's existence, the element that creates society. Individuals can only develop through relationships with society and in certain social conditions.
The development of individuals is a condition, a measure of the level of development of society. It is difficult or perhaps even impossible to reply to this question. But one thing is quite clear—he would never have become a great general and certainly not an emperor. He himself was well aware of his debt and in his declining years said, "My son cannot replace me.
I could not replace myself. I am the creature of circumstances. What tribunes of the people were lifted by the tide of events of the French Revolution— Mirabeau, Marat, Robespierre, Danton. What young, some times even youthful talents that had remained dormant among the people were raised to the heights of revolutionary, military, and organisational activity by the Great October Socialist Revolution. It is sometimes said that society carries the individual as a river carries a boat.
This is a pleasant simile, but not exact. An individual does not float with the river; he is the turbulently flowing river itself. The events of social life do not come about by themselves; they are made.
Destiny, Freedom and Responsibility
The great and small paths of the laws of history are blazed by human effort and often at the expense of human blood. The laws of history are not charted in advance by superhuman forces; they are made by people, who then submit to their authority as something that is above the individual. The key to the mysteries of human nature is to be found in society.
Society is the human being in his social relations, and every human being is an individual embodiment of social relations, a product not only of the existing social system but of all world history.
He absorbs what has been accumulated by the centuries and passed on through traditions. Modern man carries within himself all the ages of history and all his own individual ages as well. His personality is a concentration of various strata of culture. He is influenced not only by modern mass media, but also by the writings of all times and every nation. He is the living memory of history, the focus of all the wealth of knowledge, abilities, skills, and wisdom that have been amassed through the ages.
Man is a kind of super-dense living atom in the system of social reality.
He is a concentration of the actively creative principle in this system. Through myriads of visible and invisible impulses the fruit of people's creative thought in the past continues to nourish him and, through him, contemporary culture. Sometimes the relation between man and society is interpreted in such a way that the latter seems to be something that goes on around a person, something in which he is immersed.
But this is a fundamentally wrong approach. Society does, of course, exist outside the individual as a kind of social environment in the form of a historically shaped system of relations with rich material and spiritual culture that is independent of his will and consciousness.
The individual floats in this environment all his life. But society also exists in the individual himself and could not exist at all, apart from the real activity of its members. History in itself does nothing. Society possesses no wealth whatever. It fights no battles. It grows no grain. It produces no tools for making things or weapons for destroying them.
It is not society as such but man who does all this, who possesses it, who creates everything and fights for everything. Society is not some impersonal being that uses the individual as a means of achieving its aims. All world history is nothing but the daily activity of individuals pursuing their aims. Here we are talking not about the actions of individuals who are isolated and concerned only with themselves, but about the actions of the masses, the deeds of historical personalities and peoples.
An individual developing within the framework of a social system has both a certain dependence on the whole system of social standards and an autonomy that is an absolutely necessary precondition for the life and development of the system. The measure of this personal autonomy is historically conditioned and depends on the character of the social system itself.
Exceptional rigidity in a social system fascism, for example makes it impossible or extremely difficult for individual innovations in the form of creative activity in various spheres of life to take place, and this inevitably leads to stagnation. The relationships between the individual and society in history.
Hegel: Social and Political Thought
Although conscience is ideally supposed to mean the identity of subjective knowing and willing with the truly good, when it remains the subjective inner reflection of self-consciousness into itself its claim to this identity is deficient and one-sided.
Moreover, when the determinate character of right and duty reduces to subjectivity, the mere inwardness of the will, there is the potentiality of elevating the self-will of particular individuals above the universal itself, i.
What makes a person evil is the choosing of natural desires in opposition to the good, i. When an individual attempts to pass off his or her action as good, and thus imposing it on others, while being aware of the discrepancy between its negative character and the objective universal good, the person falls into hypocrisy. Ethical Life Hegel's analysis of the moral implications of "good and conscience" leads to the conclusion that a concrete unity of the objective good with the subjectivity of the will cannot be achieved at the level of personal morality since all attempts at this are problematic.
Thus, ethical life is permeated with both objectivity and subjectivity: The rationality of the ethical order of society is thus constituted in the synthesis of the concept of the will, both as universal and as particular, with its embodiment in institutional life. The synthesis of ethical life means that individuals not only act in conformity with the ethical good but that they recognize the authority of ethical laws.
The knowledge of how the laws and institutions of society are binding on the will of individuals entails a "doctrine of duties. In the performance of duty the individual exhibits virtue when the ethical order is reflected in his or her character, and when this is done by simple conformity with one's duties it is rectitude. When individuals are simply identified with the actual ethical order such that their ethical practices are habitual and second nature, ethical life appears in their general mode of conduct as custom Sitten.
In duty "the self-will of the individual vanishes together with his private conscience which had claimed independence and opposed itself to the ethical substance. For when his character is ethical, he recognizes as the end which moves him to act the universal which is itself unmoved but is disclosed in its specific determinations as rationality actualized.
However, this does not deny the right of subjectivity, i. The "bond of duty" will be seen as a restriction on the particular individual only if the self-will of subjective freedom is considered in the abstract, apart from an ethical order as is the case for both Abstract Right and Morality. In the realm of ethical life the logical syllogism of self-determination of the Idea is most clearly applied. The moments of universality, particularity, and individuality initially are represented respectively in the institutions of the family, civil society, and the state.
The family is "ethical mind in its natural or immediate phase" and is characterized by love or the feeling of unity in which one is not conscious of oneself as an independent person but only as a member of the family unit to which one is bound. Civil society, on the other hand, comprises an association of individuals considered as self-subsistent and who have no conscious sense of unity of membership but only pursue self-interest, e.
The Family The family is characterized by love which is "mind's feeling of its own unity," where one's sense of individuality is within this unity, not as an independent individual but as a member essentially related to the other family members. Thus, familial love implies a contradiction between, on the one hand, not wanting to be a self-subsistent and independent person if that means feeling incomplete and, on the other hand, wanting to be recognized in another person.
Familial love is truly an ethical unity, but because it is nonetheless a subjective feeling it is limited in sustaining unity pars. A Marriage The union of man and woman in marriage is both natural and spiritual, i. Since this consent involves bringing two persons into a union, there is the mutual surrender of their natural individuality for the sake of union, which is both a self-restriction and also a liberation because in this way individuals attain a higher self-consciousness.
This capital is the common property of all the family members, none of whom possess property of their own, but it is administered by the head of the family, the husband. The love of the parents for their children is the explicit expression of their love for each other, while their immediate feelings of love for each other are only subjective. Children have the right to maintenance and education, and in this regard a claim upon the family capital, but parents have the right to provide this service to the children and to instill discipline over the wishes of their children.
The education of children has a twofold purpose: Marriage can be dissolved not by whim but by duly constituted authority when there is total estrangement of husband and wife.
The ethical dissolution of the family results when the children have been educated to be free and responsible persons and they are of mature age under the law. The natural dissolution of the family occurs with the death of the parents, the result of which is the passing of inheritance of property to the surviving family members.
The disintegration of the family exhibits its immediacy and contingency as an expression of the ethical Idea pars. However, despite the pursuit of private or selfish ends in relatively unrestricted social and economic activity, universality is implicit in the differentiation of particular needs insofar as the welfare of an individual in society is intrinsically bound up with that of others, since each requires another in some way to effectively engage in reciprocal activities like commerce, trade, etc.
Because this system of interdependence is not self-conscious but exists only in abstraction from the individual pursuit of need satisfaction, here particularity and universality are only externally related. However, civil society is also a realm of mediation of particular wills through social interaction and a means whereby individuals are educated Bildung through their efforts and struggles toward a higher universal consciousness. A The System of Needs This dimension of civil society involves the pursuit of need satisfaction.
Humans are different from animals in their ability to multiply needs and differentiate them in various ways, which leads to their refinement and luxury. Political economy discovers the necessary interconnections in the social and universalistic side of need. Work is the mode of acquisition and transformation of the means for satisfying needs as well as a mode of practical education in abilities and understanding. Work also reveals the way in which people are dependent upon one another in their self-seeking and how each individual contributes to the need satisfaction of all others.
Furthermore, labor undergoes a division according to the complexities of the system of production, which is reflected in social class divisions: Membership in a class is important for gaining status and recognition in a civil society. Hegel says that "A man actualizes himself only in becoming something definite, i. In this class-system, the ethical frame of mind therefore is rectitude and esprit de corps, i.
The "substantial" agricultural class is based upon family relationships whose capital is in the products of nature, such as the land, and tends to be patriarchial, unreflective, and oriented toward dependence rather than free activity. In contrast to this focus on "immediacy," the business class is oriented toward work and reflection, e. The main activities of the business class are craftsmanship, manufacture, and trade.
The third class is the class of civil servants, which Hegel calls the "universal class" because it has the universal interests of society as its concern. Members of this class are relieved from having to labor to support themselves and maintain their livelihood either from private resources such as inheritance or are paid a salary by the state as members of the bureaucracy. These individuals tend to be highly educated and must qualify for appointment to government positions on the basis of merit.
B Administration of Justice The principle of rightness becomes civil law Gesetz when it is posited, and in order to have binding force it must be given determinate objective existence.
To be determinately existent, laws must be made universally known through a public legal code. Through a rational legal system, private property and personality are given legal recognition and validity in civil society, and wrongdoing now becomes an infringement, not merely of the subjective right of individuals but also of the larger universal will that exists in ethical life. The court of justice is the means whereby right is vindicated as something universal by addressing particular cases of violation or conflict without mere subjective feeling or private bias.
Moreover, court proceedings and legal processes must take place according to rights and rules of evidence; judicial proceedings as well as the laws themselves must be made public; trial should be by jury; and punishment should fit the crime.
In addition to crime fighting organizations, it includes agencies that provide oversight over public utilities as well as regulation of and, when necessary, intervention into activities related to the production, distribution, and sale of goods and services, or with any of the contingencies that can affect the rights and welfare of individuals and society generally e. Also, the public authority superintends education and organizes the relief of poverty.
Society looks to colonization to increase its wealth but poverty remains a problem with no apparent solution. The corporation Korporation applies especially to the business class, since this class is concentrated on the particularities of social existence and the corporation has the function of bringing implicit similarities between various private interests into explicit existence in forms of association. This is not the same as our contemporary business corporation but rather is a voluntary association of persons based on occupational or various social interests such as professional and trade guilds, educational clubs, religious societies, townships, etc.
Because of the integrating function of the corporation, especially in regard to the social and economic division of labor, what appear as selfish purposes in civil society are shown to be at the same time universal through the formation of concretely recognized commonalities.
Hegel says that "a Corporation has the right, under the surveillance of the public authority, a to look after its own interests within its own sphere, b to co-opt members, qualified objectively by requisite skill and rectitude, to a number fixed by the general structure of society, c to protect its members against particular contingencies, d to provide the education requisite to fit other to become members.
Furthermore, the family is assured greater stability of livelihood insofar as its providers are corporation members who command the respect due to them in their social positions. Because individual self-seeking is raised to a higher level of common pursuits, albeit restricted to the interest of a sectional group, individual self-consciousness is raised to relative universality. The State The political State, as the third moment of Ethical Life, provides a synthesis between the principles governing the Family and those governing Civil Society.
The rationality of the state is located in the realization of the universal substantial will in the self-consciousness of particular individuals elevated to consciousness of universality.
Freedom becomes explicit and objective in this sphere. Rationality is concrete in the state in so far as its content is comprised in the unity of objective freedom freedom of the universal or substantial will and subjective freedom freedom of everyone in knowing and willing of particular ends ; and in its form rationality is in self-determining action or laws and principles which are logical universal thoughts as in the logical syllogism. The Idea of the State is itself divided into three moments: The self-consciousness of this unity is expressed in the recognition on the part of each citizen that the full meaning of one's actual freedom is found in the objective laws and institutions provided by the State.
The aspect of differentiation, on the other hand, is found in "the right of individuals to their particular satisfaction," the right of subjective freedom which is maintained in Civil Society. Thus, according to Hegel, "the universal must be furthered, but subjectivity on the other hand must attain its full and living development.
As was indicated in the introduction to the concept of Ethical Life above, the higher authority of the laws and institutions of society requires a doctrine of duties. From the vantage point of the political State, this means that there must be a correlation between rights and duties. In fulfilling one's duties one is also satisfying particular interests, and the conviction that this is so Hegel calls "political sentiment" politische Gesinnung or patriotism. Thus, the "bond of duty" cannot involve being coerced into obeying the laws of the State.
According to Hegel, the political state is rational in so far as it inwardly differentiates itself according to the nature of the Concept Begriff. The principle of the division of powers expresses inner differentiation, but while these powers are distinguished they must also be built into an organic whole such that each contains in itself the other moments so that the political constitution is a concrete unity in difference.
Constitutional Law is accordingly divided into three moments: Despite the syllogistic sequence of universality, particularity, and individuality in these three constitutional powers, Hegel discusses the Crown first followed by the Executive and the Legislature respectively. Hegel understands the concept of the Crown in terms of constitutional monarchy. The third moment is what gives expression to the sovereignty of the state, i.
The monarch is the bearer of the individuality of the state and its sovereignty is the ideality in unity in which the particular functions and powers of the state subsist. The monarch is not a despot but rather a constitutional monarch, and he does not act in a capricious manner but is bound by a decision-making process, in particular to the recommendations and decisions of his cabinet supreme advisory council.
The monarch functions solely to give agency to the state, and so his personal traits are irrelevant and his ascending to the throne is based on hereditary succession, and thus on the accident of birth.
The "majesty of the monarch" lies in the free asserting of 'I will' as an expression of the unity of the state and the final step in establishing law. Also, the executive is the higher authority that oversees the filling of positions of responsibilities in corporations. The executive is comprised of the civil servants proper and the higher advisory officials organized into committees, both of which are connected to the monarch through their supreme departmental heads. Overall, government has its division of labor into various centers of administration managed by special officials.
Individuals are appointed to executive functions on the basis of their knowledgibility and proof of ability and tenure is conditional on the fulfillment of duties, with the offices in the civil service being open to all citizens.
The executive is not an unchecked bureaucratic authority. Civil servants and the members of the executive make up the largest section of the middle class, the class with a highly developed intelligence and consciousness of right. Legislative activity focuses on both providing well-being and happiness for citizens as well as exacting services from them largely in the form of monetary taxes.
The proper function of legislation is distinguished from the function of administration and state regulation in that the content of the former are determinate laws that are wholly universal whereas in administration it is application of the law to particulars, along with enforcing the law. Hegel also says that the other two moments of the political constitution, the monarchy and the executive, are the first two moments of the legislature, i.
In the legislature, the estates "have the function of bringing public affairs into existence not only implicitly, but also actually, i. Not only do the estates guarantee the general welfare and public freedom, but they are also the means by which the state as a whole enters the subjective consciousness of the people through their participation in the state.
Thus, the estates incorporate the private judgment and will of individuals in civil society and give it political significance. The estates have an important integrating function in the state overall. Also, the organizing function of the estates prevents groups in society from becoming formless masses that could form anti-government feelings and rise up in blocs in opposition to the state. The three classes of civil society, the agricultural, the business, and the universal class of civil servants, are each given political voice in the Estates Assembly in accordance with their distinctiveness in the lower spheres of civil life.
The legislature is divided into two houses, an upper and lower.
Hegel: Social and Political Thought | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The upper house comprises the agricultural estate including the peasant farmers and landed aristocracya class "whose ethical life is natural, whose basis is family life, and, so far as its livelihood is concerned, the possession of land.
Landed gentry inherit their estates and so owe their position to birth primogeniture and thus are free from the exigencies and uncertainties of the life of business and state interference.
The relative independence of this class makes it particularly suited for public office as well as a mediating element between the crown and civil society. The second section of the estates, the business class, comprises the "fluctuating and changeable element in civil society" which can enter politics only through its deputies or representatives unlike the agricultural estate from which members can present themselves to the Estates Assembly in person.
The appointment of deputies is "made by society as a society" both because of the multiplicity of members but also because representation must reflect the organization of civil society into associations, communities, and corporations. It is only as a member of such groups that an individual is a member of the state, and hence rational representation implies that consent to legislation is to be given not directly by all but only by "plenipotentiaries" who are chosen on the basis of their understanding of public affairs as well as managerial and political acumen, character, insight, etc.
The deputies of civil society are selected by the various corporations, not on the basis of universal direct suffrage which Hegel believed inevitably leads to electoral indifference, and they adopt the point of view of society. The debates that take place in the Estates Assembly are to be open to the public, whereby citizens can become politically educated both about national affairs and the true character of their own interests.
Public opinion is a "standing self-contradiction" because, on the one hand, it gives expression to genuine needs and proper tendencies of common life along with common sense views about important matters and, on the other, is infected with accidental opinion, ignorance, and faulty judgment.
Moreover, while there is freedom of public communication, freedom of the press is not totally unrestricted as freedom does not mean absence of all restriction, either in word or deed.
Hegel calls the class of civil servants the "universal class" not only because as members of the executive their function is to "subsume the particular under the universal" in the administration of law, but also because they reflect a disposition of mind due perhaps largely from their education that transcends concerns with selfish ends in the devotion to the discharge of public functions and to the public universal good.
As one of the classes of the estates, civil servants also participate in the legislature as an "unofficial class," which seems to mean that as members of the executive they will attend legislative assemblies in an advisory capacity, but this is not entirely clear from Hegel's text.