Are we as humans truly free? This is a question that many individuals often wonder about their freedom even though there is this common sense that we just are. Though we feel like we are free and think that we have the choice to make the decisions we do, and that everything that has occurred is because of our decisions, does this verify that we are in fact free? Are we bound by nature and its functioning? Or rather do we have freedom, yet everything is still at the same time determined?
The one thing on which Locke lays great emphasis throughout the Treatise is that the chief end or purpose for which the state or commonwealth is formed is making secure to the citizens the natural right to life, liberty and property which they had in the state of nature. In this state of nature, according to Locke, men were born free and equal: free to do what they wished without being required to seek permission from any other man, and equal in the sense of there being no natural political authority of one man over another. He quickly points out, however, that "although it is a state of liberty, it is not a state of license," because it is ruled over by the law of nature which everyone is obliged to obey. While Locke is not very specific about the content of the law of nature, he is clear on a few specifics. First, that "reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it" and second, that it teaches primarily that "being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life liberty or possessions."
Human Freedom Freedom in mind, freedom in nature, and freedom in subjectivity of individual are three kinds of freedoms. However, freedom should be expressed within the limits of reason and morality. Having freedom equals having the power to think, to speak, and to act without externally imposed restrains. As a matter of fact, finding freedom in order to live free is the common idea in Plato with "The Allegory of the Cave"; Henry David Thoreau with " Where I lived and What I lived for"; and Jean Paul Sartre with " Existentialism". Generally, Plato, Thoreau, and Sartre suggested that human life should be free.
Being free gives us the opportunity to be anything, to do anything, to do everything. This is justice! Although this brings one ultimate issue. Those who wish to change the way our freedom stands today. Those who do not want us to do what we want or be what we want.
Free will, is having the ability to act based on our own desires and choosing which desires we would like to act on. In the philosophical field of Metaphysics this definition is the most universal way we discuss free will. When we think of the phrase free will, we think of the choices we make that impact our lives. Are our decisions really our own or are they products of outside forces? Is our destiny predetermined by nature?
This may sound disheartening, and Kant admits that freedom is merely a concept we apply to ourselves as rational beings, and thus is something we can never be sure about. However, his argument allows us to understand that the fact that we govern ourselves under this Idea of Freedom shows that rational beings, at least in our perspective, are truly free.
It is based on this claim that he makes his argument that autonomy should be valued because it is the sole principle of our moral law. In On Liberty, Mill propounded that freedom was doing as one pleases, and unlike Kant promoted a personal account of autonomy wherein an individual is encouraged to decide for one’s self one what ever course of action they desired- often regardless of a particular moral. The good consequence of progress was the core reason that Mill felt that one should value this type of autonomy. To understand Kant’s account of freedom and autonomy one should have a general picture of his moral philosophy. A moral philosophy based so heavily on autonomy, that it if fair to establish that Kant’s morality and freedom reciprocally imply one another.
Is it better to live in the extreme of an ideal or one more tempered? I will seek to answer some of these questions bring us to the conclusion that moderation in both universalism and the balance of power is best at preserving individual liberty and forming the best government. Locke defines liberty in two ways; firstly as liberty in nature where man is free from a superior power and lives only under the laws of nature, secondly as liberty in society where man is under no law or legislative power, except under those to which he has consented (Locke, 22). Locke is stressing that true liberty is the supreme freedom of the individual who must only act in accordance with the laws of nature. The authority and laws of society are only legitimate by consent and can be struck down by the collective will of individuals.
The concept of liberty is important to this very day. Liberty initially means to be fundamentally free within ones society from any types of oppression, either from higher authority or from having different form ideologies that can be political or social. Liberty is a form of power that lets one act on their sets and values. In this paper, concept of liberty will be discussed on behalf of two philosophers, John Locke and Jean- Jacques Rousseau. Although liberty provides one to act as they please, there can be different forms of liberty, which are developed naturally by the state of nature and socially through development of human reasoning; state of nature is based on absolute freedom, while socially liberty is restricted.
Sartre elaborates this through his concept of freedom by establishing that our conscience is separate from the physical world; it is without restriction and therefore must be free. (Sartre, p. 239-241) The radical freedom Sartre expresses however does have restrictions of facticity. The limitations that are instilled in us, the situations we are all thrown in does restrict some possibilities of our freedom, this is called facticity. Facticity is the situation we find ourselves in, but this does not change that we are still more than our situation; we always have choice and are destined to it. (Sartre, p 240-241) Analysis: To accept that existence precedes essence one would have to come to the conclusion that there is no innate human nature and therefore no god to conceive it (Sartre, p.207).