• Freedom and Authority

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    Write a 2–3-page essay on a selected issue related to the tension between individual freedom and social institutions.By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies:

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    Another dose of ethical theory, focused this time on social organization. Several political philosophers have explained the foundation of governmental authority in terms of a fictional social contract:

    • Hobbes
      • Individuals are purely selfish, so they naturally exist in a state of war with all
      • In self-defense, we join together under the authority of a sovereign who rules
    • Locke
      • In nature, rational agents have equal right to enforce the natural law
      • For protection of “life, liberty, and property” we consent to be governed
      • (Notice the influence of this approach on founders of the United States.)
    • Rousseau
      • We are born free, so any agreement to join together is purely voluntary
      • Each individual freely chooses to serve the “general will,” the welfare of all

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    Questions to Consider

    To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

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    Suggested Resources

    The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.


  • Assessment Instructions

    Assessment Overview

    Political philosophy concerns itself with the formation and maintenance of civil societies. Its central theme is the need to explain the relationship between individual human beings and their governments. You have been considering several specific examples of the tension between individual freedom and social institutions. From among those examples, you have chosen one as the focus for your own views on freedom and authority.

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    Assessment Instructions

    Your assessment is to write an essay assessing the issue you selected, both in terms of versions of social contract theory proposed by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and from your own view of the proper relation between society and the individual.Address the following concepts in your essay:

    1. Explain the ethical basis for the relation of individuals to their government
    2. Describe the theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau about how societies are organized.
    3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the theories in justifying the imposition of authority over individuals.
    4. Apply these social contract theories to the issue you have selected.

    Your instructor may provide video feedback on your work, as well as completing the official scoring guide for the assessment.

    Assessment Requirements

    • Written communication: Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
    • APA formatting: Format resources and citations according to current APA style guidelines.
    • Number of resources: Use your judgment to ensure your topic is thoroughly researched. There is no minimum number of resources required, however.
    • Length of paper: Submit 2–3 typed, double-spaced pages.
    • Font and font size: Use Arial, 12-point font.
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