Freedom and Authority

Freedom and Authority

Assessment Instructions


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, as assigned by your instructor. From among those examples, you have chosen one as the focus for your own views on freedom and authority.

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:

Explain the ethical basis for the relation of individuals to their government
Describe the theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau about how societies are organized.
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the theories in justifying the imposition of authority over individuals.
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.

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.
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.

Hobbes, T. (2001). Leviathan. South Bend, IN: Infomotions, Inc.
Parts I and II.
Cudd, A., & Eftekhari, S. (2017). Contractarianism. Stanfield Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from…
Pages 1–11.
Kemerling, G. (2011). Hobbes’s Leviathan. The Philosophy Pages. Available from
Pages 1–3.
Lloyd, S. A., & Sreedhar, S. (2018). Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
Pages 1–8.
Williams, G. (n.d.). Thomas Hobbes: Moral and political philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy?. Retrieved from
Pages 1–18.
Locke, J., & Cox, R. H. (Ed.). (1982). Second treatise of government. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson.
Kemerling, G. (2011). Locke: Social order. Philosophy Pages. Available from
Pages 1–4.
Moseley, A. (n.d.). John Locke: Political philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
Pages 1–37.
Tuckness, A. (2016). Locke’s political philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from…
Pages 1–19.
Wraight, C. D. (2008). Rousseau’s the social contract: A reader’s guide. London, UK: Continuum.
Bertram, C. (2010, September 27). Jean Jacques Rousseau. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
Pages 1–20.
Delaney, J. J. (n.d.). Jean-Jacques Rousseau: 4. The social contract. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
Pages 11–12.
Kemerling, G. (2011). Rousseau. Philosophy Pages. Available from
Pages 1–3.
Social Contract Theory.
Individual Freedom
Skillsoft. (n.d.). Overcoming your own unconscious biases [Tutorial].
The systemic influence of cultural presumptions often infringes upon individual freedom. Use this Skillsoft video to explore the biases to which we may be susceptible.
Running time: 22:00.
Skillsoft. (n.d.). Influence others with political savvy [Tutorial].
This Skillsoft tutorial describes some workplace opportunities to deal with the potential conflict between collective limitations on individual freedom.
Running time: 22:00.
Ethical Controversy
NBC Learn. (n.d.). EPA head Scott Pruitt faces growing ethics controversy [Video].
In this video, you will see an example of ethical standards in government.
Running time: 01:33.
NBC Learn. (n.d). Arizona governor poised to veto anti-gay bill? [Video].
In this video, you will see an example of governmental infringement on individual rights.
Running time: 03:09.