Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American essayist, philosopher, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, his essay "Civil Disobedience", an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, essays and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism, his literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, Yankee attention to practical detail. He was deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, natural decay, he was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown.
Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. Thoreau is sometimes referred to as an anarchist. Though "Civil Disobedience" seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government—"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"—the direction of this improvement contrarily points toward anarchism: "'That government is best which governs not at all. Amos Bronson Alcott and Thoreau's aunt each wrote that "Thoreau" is pronounced like the word thorough. Edward Waldo Emerson wrote that the name should be pronounced "Thó-row", with the h sounded and stress on the first syllable. Among modern-day American English speakers, it is more pronounced thə-ROH—with stress on the second syllable. Thoreau had a distinctive appearance, with a nose that he called his "most prominent feature". Of his appearance and disposition, Ellery Channing wrote: His face, once seen, could not be forgotten.
The features were quite marked: the nose aquiline or Roman, like one of the portraits of Caesar. Henry David Thoreau was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, into the "modest New England family" of John Thoreau, a pencil maker, Cynthia Dunbar, his paternal grandfather had been born on the UK crown dependency island of Jersey. His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, led Harvard's 1766 student "Butter Rebellion", the first recorded student protest in the American colonies. David Henry was named after his deceased paternal uncle, David Thoreau, he began to call himself Henry David. He had two older siblings and John Jr. and a younger sister, Sophia. Thoreau's birthplace still exists on Virginia Road in Concord; the house has been restored by the Thoreau Farm Trust, a nonprofit organization, is now open to the public. He studied at Harvard College between 1833 and 1837, he lived in Hollis Hall and took courses in rhetoric, philosophy and science. He was a member of the Institute of 1770. According to legend, Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee for a Harvard diploma.
In fact, the master's degree he declined to purchase had no academic merit: Harvard College offered it to graduates "who proved their physical worth by being alive three years after graduating, their saving, earning, or inheriting quality or condition by having Five Dollars to give the college". He commented, "Let every sheep keep its own skin", a reference to the tradition of using sheepskin vellum for diplomas; the traditional professions open to college graduates—law, the church, medicine—did not interest Thoreau, so in 1835 he took a leave of absence from Harvard, during which he taught school in Canton, Massachusetts. After he graduated in 1837, he joined the faculty of the Concord public school, but he resigned after a few weeks rather than administer corporal punishment, he and his brother John opened the Concord Academy, a grammar school in Concord, in 1838. They introduced several progressive concepts, including nature walks and visits to local shops and businesses; the school closed when John became fatally ill from tetanus in 1842 after cutting himself while shaving.
He died in Henry's arms. Upon graduation Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson through a mutual friend. Emerson, 14 years his senior, took a paternal and at times patron-like interest in Thoreau, advising the young man and introducing him to a circle of local writers and thinkers, including Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his son Julian Hawthorne
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy, he became the youngest to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems. In 1889 at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward, a complete loss of his mental faculties, he lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900. Nietzsche's body of work touched a wide range of topics, including art, history, tragedy and science, his writing spans philosophical polemics, cultural criticism and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. His early inspiration was drawn from figures such as Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism. He developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return. In his work, he became preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social and moral contexts in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health. After his death, his sister Elisabeth became the curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts, reworking his unpublished writings to fit her own German nationalist ideology while contradicting or obfuscating Nietzsche's stated opinions, which were explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism. Through her published editions, Nietzsche's work became associated with Nazism. Nietzsche's thought enjoyed renewed popularity in the 1960s and his ideas have since had a profound impact on 20th and early-21st century thinkers across philosophy—especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism and post-structuralism—as well as art, psychology and popular culture.
Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. Nietzsche's Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, they had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; the family moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's maternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house, now Nietzsche-Haus, a museum and Nietzsche study centre. Nietzsche attended a boys' school and a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from respected families. In 1854, he began to attend Domgymnasium in Naumburg; because his father had worked for the state the now-fatherless Nietzsche was offered a scholarship to study at the internationally recognized Schulpforta.
He transferred and studied there from 1858 to 1864, becoming friends with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff. He found time to work on poems and musical compositions. Nietzsche led a music and literature club, during his summers in Naumburg. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important grounding in languages—Greek, Latin and French—so as to be able to read important primary sources, his end-of-semester exams in March 1864 showed a 1 in German. While at Pforta, Nietzsche had a penchant for pursuing subjects, he became acquainted with the work of the almost-unknown poet Friedrich Hölderlin, calling him "my favorite poet" and composing an essay in which he said that the mad poet raised consciousness to "the most sublime ideality." The teacher who corrected the essay gave it a good mark but commented that Nietzsche should concern himself in the future with healthier, more lucid, more "German" writers. Additionally, he became acquainted with Ernst Ortlepp, an eccentric and drunken poet, found dead in a ditch weeks after meeting the young Nietzsche but who may have introduced Nietzsche to the music and writing of Rich
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language. From 1929 to 1947, Wittgenstein taught at the University of Cambridge. During his lifetime he published just one slim book, the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one article, one book review and a children's dictionary, his voluminous manuscripts were published posthumously. Philosophical Investigations appeared as a book in 1953, has since come to be recognised as one of the most important works of philosophy in the 20th century, his teacher, Bertrand Russell, described Wittgenstein as "the most perfect example I have known of genius as traditionally conceived. Born in Vienna into one of Europe's richest families, he inherited a fortune from his father in 1913, he made some donations to artists and writers, in a period of severe personal depression after the First World War, he gave away his entire fortune to his brothers and sisters.
Three of his brothers committed suicide, which Wittgenstein had contemplated. He left academia several times—serving as an officer on the front line during World War I, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage, he described philosophy as "the only work that gives me real satisfaction". His philosophy is divided into an early period, exemplified by the Tractatus, a period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations; the early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world and believed that by providing an account of the logic underlying this relationship, he had solved all philosophical problems. The Wittgenstein rejected many of the assumptions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is best understood as their use within a given language-game. A survey among American university and college teachers ranked the Investigations as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as "the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations."
The Investigations ranked 54th on a list of most influential twentieth-century works in cognitive science prepared by the University of Minnesota's Center for Cognitive Sciences. However, in the words of his friend Georg Henrik von Wright, he believed "his ideas were misunderstood and distorted by those who professed to be his disciples, he doubted. He once said he felt as though he was writing for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life, from that of present-day men." According to a family tree prepared in Jerusalem after World War II, Wittgenstein's paternal great-great-grandfather was Moses Meier, a Jewish land agent who lived with his wife, Brendel Simon, in Bad Laasphe in the Principality of Wittgenstein, Westphalia. In July 1808, Napoleon issued a decree that everyone, including Jews, must adopt an inheritable family surname, so Meier's son Moses, took the name of his employers, the Sayn-Wittgensteins, became Moses Meier Wittgenstein, his son, Hermann Christian Wittgenstein—who took the middle name "Christian" to distance himself from his Jewish background—married Fanny Figdor Jewish, who converted to Protestantism just before they married, the couple founded a successful business trading in wool in Leipzig.
Ludwig's grandmother Fanny was a first cousin of the famous violinist Joseph Joachim. They had 11 children—among them Wittgenstein's father. Karl Otto Clemens Wittgenstein became an industrial tycoon, by the late 1880s was one of the richest men in Europe, with an effective monopoly on Austria's steel cartel. Thanks to Karl, the Wittgensteins became the second wealthiest family in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, only behind the Rothschilds. Karl Wittgenstein was viewed as the Austrian equivalent of Andrew Carnegie, with whom he was friends, was one of the wealthiest men in the world by the 1890s; as a result of his decision in 1898 to invest in the Netherlands and in Switzerland as well as overseas in the US, the family was to an extent shielded from the hyperinflation that hit Austria in 1922. However, their wealth diminished due to post-1918 hyperinflation and subsequently during the Great Depression, although as late as 1938 they owned 13 mansions in Vienna alone. Wittgenstein's mother was Leopoldine Maria Josefa Kalmus, known among friends as Poldi.
Her father was a Bohemian Jew and her mother was Austrian-Slovene Catholic—she was Wittgenstein's only non-Jewish grandparent. She was an aunt of the Nobel Prize laureate Friedrich Hayek on her maternal side. Wittgenstein was born at 8:30 pm on 26 April 1889 in the so-called "Wittgenstein Palace" at Alleegasse 16, now the Argentinierstrasse, near the Karlskirche. Karl and Poldi had nine children in all—four girls: Hermine, Helene, a fourth daughter Dora who died as a baby; the children were baptized as Catholics, received formal Catholic instruction, were raised in an exceptionally intense environmen
A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging. Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was humanity's first and most successful adaptation, occupying at least 90 percent of human history. Following the invention of agriculture, hunter-gatherers who did not change have been displaced or conquered by farming or pastoralist groups in most parts of the world. In West Eurasia, agriculture lead to widespread genetic changes when older hunter-gatherer populations were replaced by Middle Eastern farmers during the Neolithic who in turn were overrun by Indo-Europeans during the Bronze Age. Only a few contemporary societies are classified as hunter-gatherers, many supplement their foraging activity with horticulture or pastoralism. During the 1970s, Lewis Binford suggested that early humans were obtaining food via scavenging, not hunting. Early humans in the Lower Paleolithic lived in forests and woodlands, which allowed them to collect seafood, eggs and fruits besides scavenging.
Rather than killing large animals for meat, according to this view, they used carcasses of such animals that had either been killed by predators or that had died of natural causes. Archaeological and genetic data suggest that the source populations of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers survived in sparsely wooded areas and dispersed through areas of high primary productivity while avoiding dense forest cover. According to the endurance running hypothesis, long-distance running as in persistence hunting, a method still practiced by some hunter-gatherer groups in modern times, was the driving evolutionary force leading to the evolution of certain human characteristics; this hypothesis does not contradict the scavenging hypothesis: both subsistence strategies could have been in use – sequentially, alternating or simultaneously. Hunting and gathering was the subsistence strategy employed by human societies beginning some 1.8 million years ago, by Homo erectus, from its appearance some 0.2 million years ago by Homo sapiens.
Prehistoric hunter-gatherers lived in groups that consisted of several families resulting in a size of a few dozen people. It remained the only mode of subsistence until the end of the Mesolithic period some 10,000 years ago, after this was replaced only with the spread of the Neolithic Revolution. Starting at the transition between the Middle to Upper Paleolithic period, some 80,000 to 70,000 years ago, some hunter-gatherers bands began to specialize, concentrating on hunting a smaller selection of game and gathering a smaller selection of food; this specialization of work involved creating specialized tools such as fishing nets and bone harpoons. The transition into the subsequent Neolithic period is chiefly defined by the unprecedented development of nascent agricultural practices. Agriculture originated as early as 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, independently originated in many other areas including Southeast Asia, parts of Africa and the Andes. Forest gardening was being used as a food production system in various parts of the world over this period.
Forest gardens originated in prehistoric times along jungle-clad river banks and in the wet foothills of monsoon regions. In the gradual process of families improving their immediate environment, useful tree and vine species were identified and improved, whilst undesirable species were eliminated. Superior introduced species were selected and incorporated into the gardens. Many groups continued their hunter-gatherer ways of life, although their numbers have continually declined as a result of pressure from growing agricultural and pastoral communities. Many of them reside in arid regions or tropical forests. Areas that were available to hunter-gatherers were—and continue to be—encroached upon by the settlements of agriculturalists. In the resulting competition for land use, hunter-gatherer societies either adopted these practices or moved to other areas. In addition, Jared Diamond has blamed a decline in the availability of wild foods animal resources. In North and South America, for example, most large mammal species had gone extinct by the end of the Pleistocene—according to Diamond, because of overexploitation by humans, one of several explanations offered for the Quaternary extinction event there.
As the number and size of agricultural societies increased, they expanded into lands traditionally used by hunter-gatherers. This process of agriculture-driven expansion led to the development of the first forms of government in agricultural centers, such as the Fertile Crescent, Ancient India, Ancient China, Sub-Saharan Africa and Norte Chico; as a result of the now near-universal human reliance upon agriculture, the few contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures live in areas unsuitable for agricultural use. Archaeologists can use evidence such as stone tool use to track hunter-gatherer activities, including mobility. Most hunter-gatherers are semi-nomadic and live in temporary settlements. Mobile communities construct shelters using impermanent building materials, or they may use natural rock shelters, where they are available; some hunter-gatherer cultures, such as the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and the Yakuts, lived in rich environments that allowed them to be sedentary or semi-sedentary.
Hunter-gatherers tend to have an egalitarian social ethos, although settled hunter-gatherers are an exception to this rule. Nearly
University at Albany, SUNY
The State University of New York at Albany referred to as University at Albany, SUNY Albany or UAlbany, is a public research university with campuses in the New York cities of Albany and Rensselaer and the Town of Guilderland, United States. Founded in 1844, it carries out undergraduate and graduate education and service, it is a part of the State University of New York system. The university has three campuses: the Uptown Campus in Albany and Guilderland, the Downtown Campus in Albany, the Health Sciences Campus in the City of Rensselaer, just across the Hudson River; the university enrolls 17,944 students in nine schools and colleges, which offer 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs. The university's academic choices include new and emerging fields in public policy, homeland security, documentary studies, bio-instrumentation, informatics. Through the UAlbany and SUNY-wide exchange programs, students have more than 600 study-abroad programs to choose from, as well as government and business internship opportunities in New York's capital and surrounding region.
The Honors College, which opened in fall 2006, offers opportunities for well-prepared students to work with faculty. The UAlbany faculty had $103.0 million in research expenditures in 2016-17. For work advancing discovery in a wide range of fields; the research enterprise is in four areas: social science, public policy, life sciences and atmospheric sciences. SUNY Albany offers many cultural benefits, such as a contemporary art museum and the New York State Writers Institute. UAlbany plays a major role in the economic development of the Capital New York State. An economic impact study in 2004 estimated UAlbany's economic impact to be $1.1 billion annually in New York State — $1 billion of that in the Capital Region The University at Albany was an independent state-supported teachers' college for most of its history until SUNY was formed in 1948. The institution began as the New York State Normal School on May 7, 1844, by a vote of the State Legislature. Beginning with 29 students and four faculty in an abandoned railroad depot on State Street in the heart of the city, the Normal School was the first New York State-chartered institution of higher education.
Dedicated to training New York students as schoolteachers and administrators, by the early 1890s the “School” had become the New York State Normal College at Albany and, with a revised four-year curriculum in 1905, became the first public institution of higher education in New York to be granted the power to confer the bachelor's degree. A new campus — today, UAlbany's Downtown Campus — was built in 1909 on a site of 4.5 acres between Washington and Western avenues. By 1913, the institution was home to 590 students and 44 faculty members, offered a master's degree for the first time, bore a new name — the New York State College for Teachers at Albany. Enrollment grew to a peak of 1,424 in 1932. By this time, the College for Teachers, or "Albany State" as it was called for short, had developed a curriculum similar to those found at four-year liberal arts colleges, but it did not abandon its primary focus on training teachers. In 1948 the State University of New York system was created, with the College for Teachers and the state's other teacher-training schools as the nuclei.
SUNY, including the Albany campus, became a manifestation of the vision of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, who wanted a public university system to accommodate the college students of the post–World War II baby boom. To do so, he launched a massive construction program. Reflecting a broadening mission, the College for Teachers changed its name to SUNY College of Education at Albany in 1959. In 1961, it became a full-fledged four-year liberal arts college as the State University College at Albany. In 1962, the State University College was designated a doctoral-degree granting university center of SUNY as the State University of New York at Albany; the same year, Rockefeller broke ground for the current Uptown Campus on the former site of the Albany Country Club. The new campus's first dormitory opened in 1964, the first classes on the academic podium in the fall of 1966. By 1970, a year beyond the university's 125th anniversary, enrollment had grown to 13,200 and the faculty to 746; that same year the growing protest movement against the Vietnam war engulfed the university when a student strike was called for in response to the killing of protesters at Kent State.
The Uptown Campus, designed by architect Edward Durell Stone, accommodated this growth and gave visible evidence of the school's transition from a teachers college to a broad-based liberal arts university. The Downtown Campus became dedicated to the fields of public policy: criminal justice, public affairs, information science and social welfare. In 1985, the university added the School of Public Health, a joint endeavor with the state's Department of Health. In 1983, the New York State Writers Institute was founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy; as of 2013, the Institute had hosted, over time, more than 1,200 writers, journalists, historians and filmmakers. The list includes eight Nobel Prize winners, nearly 200 Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, several Motion Picture Academy Award winners and nominees, numerous other literary prize recipients. In addition, the institute has hosted up-and-coming writers to provide them with exposure at the beginning of their writing careers.
During the 1990s, the university built a $3 billion, 450,000-square-foot Albany NanoTech complex, extending the Uptown Campus westward. By 2006, it became home to the College of Nanoscale Science an
Johann Kaspar Schmidt, better known as Max Stirner, was a German philosopher, seen as one of the forerunners of nihilism, psychoanalytic theory and individualist anarchism. Stirner's main work is The Ego and Its Own known as The Unique And Its Property, first published in 1845 in Leipzig and since appeared in numerous editions and translations, with his German original title translating as The Individual and His Property. Stirner was born in Bavaria. What little is known of his life is due to the Scottish-born German writer John Henry Mackay, who wrote a biography of Stirner, published in German in 1898 and translated into English in 2005. Stirner was the only child of Sophia Elenora Reinlein, his father died of tuberculosis on 19 April 1807 at the age of 37. In 1809, his mother settled in West Prussian Kulm; when Stirner turned 20, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philology and theology. He attended the lectures of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, to become a source of inspiration for his thinking.
He attended Hegel's lectures on the history of philosophy, the philosophy of religion and the subjective spirit. Stirner moved to the University of Erlangen, which he attended at the same time as Ludwig Feuerbach. Stirner returned to Berlin and obtained a teaching certificate, but he was unable to obtain a full-time teaching post from the Prussian government. While in Berlin in 1841, Stirner participated in discussions with a group of young philosophers called Die Freien and whom historians have subsequently categorized as the Young Hegelians; some of the best known names in 19th century literature and philosophy were involved with this group, including Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Bruno Bauer and Arnold Ruge. Contrary to popular belief, Feuerbach was not a member of Die Freien, although he was involved in Young Hegelian discourse. While some of the Young Hegelians were eager subscribers to Hegel's dialectical method and attempted to apply dialectical approaches to Hegel's conclusions, the left-wing members of the group broke with Hegel.
Feuerbach and Bauer led this charge. The debates would take place at Hippel's, a wine bar in Friedrichstraße, attended by among others Marx and Engels, who were both adherents of Feuerbach at the time. Stirner met with Engels many times and Engels recalled that they were "great friends", but it is still unclear whether Marx and Stirner met, it does not appear that Stirner contributed much to the discussions, but he was a faithful member of the club and an attentive listener. The most-often reproduced portrait of Stirner is a cartoon by Engels, drawn forty years from memory at biographer Mackay's request, it is likely that this and the group sketch of Die Freien at Hippel's are the only firsthand images of Stirner. Stirner worked as a teacher in a school for young girls owned by Madame Gropius when he wrote his major work, The Ego and Its Own, which in part is a polemic against Feuerbach and Bauer, but against communists such as Wilhelm Weitling and the anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he resigned from his teaching position in anticipation of controversy from this work's publication in October 1844.
Stirner married twice. His first wife was Agnes Burtz, the daughter of his landlady, whom he married on 12 December 1837. However, she died from complications with pregnancy in 1838. In 1843, he married an intellectual associated with Die Freien, they divorced in 1846. The Ego and Its Own was dedicated "to my sweetheart Marie Dähnhardt". Marie converted to Catholicism and died in 1902 in London. After The Ego and Its Own, Stirner wrote Stirner's Critics and translated Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Jean-Baptiste Say's Traite d'Economie Politique into German to little financial gain, he wrote a compilation of texts titled History of Reaction in 1852. Stirner died in 1856 in Berlin from an infected insect bite and it is said that Bruno Bauer was the only Young Hegelian present at his funeral, held at the Friedhof II der Sophiengemeinde Berlin; the philosophy of Stirner is credited as a major influence in the development of nihilism and post-modernism as well as individualist anarchism, post-anarchism and post-left anarchy.
Stirner's main philosophical work was Its Own. Stirner argues that individuals are impossible to comprehend. All mere concepts of the self will always be inadequate to describe the nature of our experience. Stirner has been broadly understood as a proponent of both psychological egoism and ethical egoism, although the latter position can be disputed as there is no claim in Stirner's writing in which one ought to pursue one's own interest and further claiming any ought could be seen as a new fixed idea. Stirner may be understood as a rational egoist in the sense that he considered it irrational not to act in one's self-interest. However, how this self-interest is defined is subjective, allowing both selfish and altruistic normative claims to be included. Individual self-realization rests on each individual's desire to fulfill their egoism; the difference between an unwilling and a willing egoist is that the former will be possessed by an "empty idea" and believe that they are fulfilling a higher cause, but being unaware that they are only fulfilling their own desires to be happy or secure.
Social policy is policy within a governmental or political setting, such as the welfare state and study of social services. Social policy consists of guidelines, principles and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare, such as a person's quality of life; the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics defines social policy as "an interdisciplinary and applied subject concerned with the analysis of societies' responses to social need", which seeks to foster in its students a capacity to understand theory and evidence drawn from a wide range of social science disciplines, including economics, psychology, history, law and political science. The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard University describes social policy as "public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality and labor". Social policy might be described as actions that affect the well-being of members of a society through shaping the distribution of and access to goods and resources in that society.
Social policy deals with wicked problems. The discussion of'social policy' in the United States and Canada can apply to governmental policy on social issues such as tackling racism, LGBT issues and the legal status of abortion, euthanasia, recreational drugs and prostitution. In other countries, these issues would be classified under domestic policy; the earliest example of direct intervention by government in human welfare dates back to Umar ibn al-Khattāb's rule as the second caliph of Islam in the 6th century. He used zakat collections and other governmental resources to establish pensions, income support, child benefits, various stipends for people of the non-Muslim community. In the West, proponents of scientific social planning such as the sociologist Auguste Comte, social researchers, such as Charles Booth, contributed to the emergence of social policy in the first industrialised countries following the industrial revolution. Surveys of poverty exposing the brutal conditions in the urban slum conurbations of Victorian Britain supplied the pressure leading to changes such as the decline and abolition of the poor law system and Liberal welfare reforms.
Other significant examples in the development of social policy are the Bismarckian welfare state in 19th century Germany, social security policies in the United States introduced under the rubric of the New Deal between 1933 and 1935, the National Health Service Act 1946 in Britain. Social policy in the 21st century is complex and in each state it is subject to local and national governments, as well as supranational political influence. For example, membership of the European Union is conditional on member states' adherence to the Social Chapter of European Union law and other international laws. Social policy is an academic discipline focusing on the systematic evaluation of societies' responses to social need, it was established in the early-to-mid part of the 20th century as a complement to social work studies. One can reasonably argue there is not a single comprehensive definition of social policy; this is because social policy is more an area of study than a discipline, because the meaning of social policy has evolved over time.
For this reason, the founding fathers of the discipline defined the domain by looking at its aims: to reduce poverty, insure against social risks, provide equal opportunity for all, enhance economic growth, foster the expansion of social citizenship and social rights. Scholars studied and categorized social security systems on the basis of their'modes of intervention'. Of course, each welfare state system includes a mixture of these elements, but certain systems are geared toward universal principles, i.e. Sweden and Denmark. Others emphasize i.e. Germany and France. Still other focus on social assistance for the poor. Social policy aims to improve human welfare and to meet human needs for education, health and economic security. Important areas of social policy are wellbeing and welfare, poverty reduction, social security, unemployment insurance, living conditions, animal rights, health care, social housing, family policy, social care, child protection, social exclusion, education policy and criminal justice, urban development, labor issues.
Religious, ideological and philosophical movements and ideas have influenced American social policy, for example, John Calvin and his idea of pre-destination and the Protestant Values of hard work and individualism. Moreover, Social Darwinism helped mold America's ideas of capitalism and the survival of the fittest mentality; the Catholic Church's social teaching has been influential to the development of social policy. United States politicians who have favored increasing government observance of social policy do not frame their proposals around typical notions of welfare or benefits. Insurance has been a growing policy topic, a recent example of health care law as social policy is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act formed by the 111th U. S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, on March 23, 2010. Moreover, former president Franklin D. Roosevelt's ground b