All collectives are comprised of individuals, and all individuals comprise collectives; thus we can never fully consider collectives without considering individuals, or vice versa.
Thinking is a mental process which allows humans to model the world, philosophy is the attempt to understand the world using logic and reason. The world being both the external and the internal, and both the knowable and unknowable.
For an overview of philosophy see our branches of philosophy page, for an introduction to philosophy check out Reason at Work (Amazon). Philosophy includes everything from economic and political philosophies, to the philosophies of emotions and mind, to cosmological and other other metaphysical questions, to the nature of god and religion, to the very nature of what we can know. Given that every subject has a science and philosophy (with the two often merging, such is the case in theoretical physics or mathematics) we have to be careful not to undervalue the practical aspects of this non-science.
We often attribute the origin of the state of nature argument to Hobbes, but it can be traced to thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, and the Sophists in the 300s BC, and is then mused on by other early philosophers.
Historically, Protestantism is like classical liberalism (individual liberties and rights) and Catholicism is like social liberalism (state enforced social justice).
The state of nature is the state humans lived in before forming the first societies. By examining the state of nature we can better understand the implicit and explicit social contracts which govern societies.
Different types of government can be said to be based on a number of attributes like power source, power structure, and economic system.
In practice, human action often has paradoxical or unintended effects. Sometimes effects or side effects even have the exact opposite effect as intended.
We present a list of vices and virtues and look at vices and virtues as understood by philosophers like Aristotle and Aquinas.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) can be read as a political metaphor where Dr. Frankenstein and his monster represent the philosophies and attitudes of the liberal revolutionaries, specifically those of the French Revolution and ensuing “Reign of Terror.”
Western Classical Element Theory can be seen as a metaphor the human condition where fire is will and action, air is reason, water is the passions and spirit, and earth is the physical.