Freedom Continued

There is no doubt that this is a controversial topic, and as it has generated some interest, including my own, we shall continue it…

Firstly – thanks to Anonymous for commenting, and in my defence:

According to the rules of logic… you are arguing for the existence of one form of freedom based on the assumption freedom exists, and that is what we would say commits the fallacy of circularity, or begs the question (as do dictionaries freedom fighter).

You say we will never have an unadulterated choice, and therefore my theory of freedom cannot be correct (On the assumption that freedom exists). However the logical alternative, according to your proposition and my argument is that freedom doesn’t exist, not that freedom exists in another form.

Let me elaborate a little on your choice, your choice of ‘freedom to’, or Isaiah Berlins Positive Freedom… This form of freedom is precisely the form of freedom exercised by Gilead in Margaret Atwoods ‘A Handmaids Tale’, although in a twisted sense…

‘Freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’ must be separated in some way – and this way is by coercion. Berlin states that above all Positive Freedom includes the wish to be “conscious of myself as a thinking, willing active being”. We must become aware of a “dominant self” which then becomes via reason a “higher nature” or ideal self. Berlin would have us believe that this ideal self is applicable to society as a whole to achieve a “higher freedom” for all, but acknowledges that to believe this you must believe it is justifiable “to coerce men in the name of some goal which they would, if they were more enlightened, themselves pursue”.

I’m not sure if this is Berlins personal belief, as the essay ‘Two forms of Liberty’ is written in very objective terms, however he does go onto support the Positive View through the application of the Modernists most powerful tool – Reason. Via reason we are supposed to be able to conclude that it is reasonable to coerce the idiot, as he does not know what freedom is. It is of course this element of coercion that separates positive and negative freedom altogether.

Now – Freedom Fighters has defined freedom presumably from a dictionary of sorts, which themselves are circular, however, he/she has a valid point. The Negative form of freedom is not essentially totally possible. If every man where free to do as he willed, he may will to restrict another man from doing something, and hence freedom would not exist in totality… but Berlin would argue that Negative Freedom does not require the imposition of ones will on another, and is as valid a form of freedom as Positive Freedom, since they both have their flaws…

So essentially, Freedom becomes yet another thing, like truth, like God, that we really cannot define accurately or without problems, and it is left to individuals to wonder then, if we cannot define freedom, does it really exist? As such, we are inexorably drawn back to the debate of existence – what is it, what does it mean, how could we possibly prove it to be true when we cannot even decide if truth exists? Talk about circularity.

2 thoughts on “Freedom Continued

  1. talk about circularity….talk about circularity….circularity….circularity….talk about circularity….i like this post on freedom, it was insightful. thanks damo. hope all is well. and answer your phone sometime you lazy bugger!


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