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I'm reading through Josiah Royce's view on the self and this is what I think he believes the tension to be between the individual and society:

"The tension between the individual and society is teaching men customs, equipping them with tools for expressing their own personalities. Society constantly engaged in training up children who may, and often do, rebel against their mother."

Is Royce arguing that the individual's best interest should align with society's best interest?

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    In the passage you quote he is not arguing for anything, he is just making an observation. Nor does it follow from this observation that individual's interests should align with the society's. Quite the contrary, society is constantly engaged in equipping children with tools to both adjust to its customs and rebel against them. That is how customs change, and societies evolve, by constantly realigning to ease the mounting tensions, which can never be fully resolved. At most, one can read him to suggest channeling the inevitable rebellions into a more constructive vein. – Conifold Oct 19 '19 at 7:02
  • A highly pertinent comment on the (mis)use of 'arguing', 'argument', &c., when all that's going on is the making of a claim. Glad you brought this up. – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 20 '19 at 18:24
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Answer removed by author.......

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Individual's best interest with regards to survival significantly overlaps with the society's best interests as a whole. It might not be the most illuminating or a satiating path for the individual's mind always but being a strong cog in the wheel does in many a situation predict greater survivability. Which is one of the reasons that "desirable" behavioural traits are inculcated to children at an impressionable age so as to enable them to conform better. This can be observed in religious practices as well.
As far as the rebelling aspect that is true too. Succeeding at inculcating these practices is not so straightforward considering the complexities of a child's brain. Remember the proverb " The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth."

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  • One member has queried whether this is a full or adequate answer. The matter was referred to me as a moderator. I am unwilling to delete your answer since I have myself answered the question, or tried to, and do not want to create any impression of eliminating a rival. However, you do need to rework your answer so that it focuses more on what Royce holds exactly. – Geoffrey Thomas Oct 19 '19 at 10:53

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