Social philosophy is the academic discipline that studies social behavior and society, placing importance on understanding the contexts under which ethical questions can be examined. There are a wide range of topics under the umbrella of social philosophy, including the social contract, individualism, and the relationship of the individual to others.
Social philosophy often combines with aspects of psychology, anthropology, and sociology, but is often restricted to the subtle forms of interaction in society, such as the structure of voluntary organizations. Also explored are issues of group dynamics, social power, and social values. Some social philosophers tend to view society as an organism, containing a system of parts that function individually, but work together for the whole of society. Under this thinking, all social systems contain four key functions in society: adaptation, goal-attainment, integration, and latency.
Symbolic interactionism, a sub-field of social philosophy, focuses on the interactions among the various members of society, seeking an understanding of how people make rules. Also researched are the ways in which society came into being, with the understanding that most societies are in a constant state of re-creation. Thus, in the final analysis, social philosophy contends that reality is a social construction that emerges through our interactions with one another.