What is Society?

In political theory, there is some disagreement about what precisely society is. Liberal theorists believe that society is just an amalgamation of individual interests. Libertarians often argue that there is no society at all, that the individual interests are all there are. Both views contrast with the collectivist view, that there are irreducible social goods that cannot be located in individuals at all, because these goods require a society to exist in the first place. Today I’d like to weigh in on the topic by arguing that there are indeed goods that typically require society, but that this nonetheless does not make them irreducible. Society is more than the sum of various individual interests, but it is not separate from its component people either. Let’s dive in.

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