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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

Freedoms – Andrea

Most people people believe they are free without really knowing what freedoms are. Up until this week even I believed being free just meant you were free. However, after a closer look I stumbled upon the realization that theres a more in depth answer. Negative freedom and positive freedoms, two similar sounding phrases, but entirely different. From my understanding negative freedom  means that you are free to have oportunities even though you might not take advantage of them. Positive freedom means means that you have the ability to go through with an oportunity. Both very similar and in some cases may even seem like one but may be the other. Let’s say a student fails a test, and because of it can no longer attend univerisity. Did it restrict his negative freedom because the test itself was made too hard for him to pass? or was his positive freedom restricted because he didn’t study enough?

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Freedoms – Andrea

  1. I don’t like the terms ‘negative freedom’ and ‘positive freedom’ because they are vague and because they are value-laden. I prefer to think of them as ‘freedoms-to’ and ‘freedoms-from’.

    Freedoms-to include our right *to* do things – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of mobility, freedom of belief and conscience, etc. These types of freedoms are not just the sort of freedoms that might be found in a constitution or charter of rights, but also in things like software licenses – freedom to copy, freedom to run the program, freedom to share.

    Freedoms-from include our right to be protected from things that are harmful. Freedom from execution, freedom from arbitrary imprisonment, and freedom from arbitrary search and seizure are found in most charters of rights. The UD Universal Declaration of human rights also includes freedom from poverty (aka the right to housing, clothing and food), freedom from ignorance (aka the right to an education).

    Posted by Stephen Downes | September 6, 2013, 6:14 pm
  2. I like the question you pose at the conclusion Andrea, as it shows the realm of control both positive and negative freedoms exert over a given singular situation. Complex stuff! What do you think?

    Mr. J

    Posted by bryanjack | September 9, 2013, 11:06 pm

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