The Notion of Freedom and Its Different Meanings Essay

The Notion of Freedom and Its Different Meanings Essay

Length: 1665 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

This essay will explore the notion of freedom and attempt to shed light on various explanations on what freedom is. Narrowly speaking, the plain and ordinary definition of freedom is ‘the absence of restraint,’ but how this definition is applied is much harder to clarify and encompasses a wide range of ideas. This essay will attempt to highlight some of these ideas by focusing mainly on the theories of Isaiah Berlin and his two different concepts of freedom, including negative and positive freedom. It will analyse the various theories of other philosophers with reference to these two distinct ideas and attempt to conclude whether the law does indeed restrict freedom.

Isaiah Berlin explains his idea of negative freedom by articulating that, ‘I am normally said to be free to the degree to which no man or body of men interfere with my activity.’ Put simply, this means, ‘If I am prevented by others from doing what I would otherwise do, I am to that degree unfree.’ This seems to suggest that any restrictions placed on an individual from any form of state authority would interfere with the freedom of that individual. This is similar to the concept of social freedom articulated by D.D Raphael, who describes it as, ‘the absence of restraint from other people.’ This would include restrictions placed on individuals as a result of the law. However, it is rather impossible to contemplate a world in which complete social freedom exists, as ‘to be socially free is to place no restrictions on doing as you like.’ This is highly problematic, as if one person were to exercise complete social freedom; this would inevitably be restricting another person’s social freedom. This is just one of the reasons why effective laws are needed in order t...


... middle of paper ...


...t, ‘Sovereignty of Law: Freedom, Constitution and Common Law,’ L.Q.R. 2014, 130 (Jan), 162-165.

W. Weinstein, ‘The concept of liberty in 19th century English political thought,’ Political Studies, 13 (1965), 145-62

Michael Connolly, ‘Social mobility, education and the European Convention on Human Rights,’ E.H.R.L.R. 2013, 2, 152-165

Charles G. Ngwena, ‘Reforming African abortion laws to achieve transparency: arguments from equality,’ A.J.I.C.L. 2013, 21(3), 398-426

P. Pettit, ‘A definition of Negative Liberty,’ Ratio, NS 2 (1989), 153-68.

John Coggon and Jose Miola, ‘Autonomy, liberty and medical decision making,’ C.L.J. 2011, 70(3), 523-547

Deborah Ogbourne and Richard Ward, ‘Sterilisation, the mentally incompetent and the courts,’ (1989) 18(3) Anglo-American Law Review, 230-40

Cases

F v West Berkshire Health Authority [1989] 2 W.L.R. 1025, [1990] 2 A.C. 1

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The United States and the Ideals of Freedom Essay

- Since the creation of the United States, the meaning of freedom has changed to meet changing attitudes. Throughout our nation’s history, there have been significant periods of racial, economic and civil rights inequalities. There are different meanings for freedoms that have been established throughout the historical period of the United States. During this modern era, the US had certain periods of time that lived up to the ideals of freedom such as the Gilded Age. In opposition, the US has also had periods of time where our ideals of freedom failed to meet the requirements of our nation, a prime example being the late 1940s when the US entered the Cold War and led to the anti-communism pe...   [tags: Race, Economy, Civil Rights, American History]

Powerful Essays
927 words (2.6 pages)

The Declaration Of Independence : A Day For Celebrating The Nation 's Freedom

- Carter introduced his definition of what it’s meant to have integrity in “The Rules about the Rules.” Integrity can carry so many meanings, consequently, freedom, equally and what it meant to be an American can as well. July Fourth, 1776 the Declaration of Independence, was written by Thomas Jefferson, was signed. He proclaimed that all men were created equal. And to this came the big debate as to what it’s meant to be an American, have freedom and live equally among other Americans. July fifth, 1852, sum seventy six years later, Frederick Douglass addresses the public after the day of what today is called Fourth of July, a day for celebrating the nation’s freedom; criticizing so called Amer...   [tags: United States Declaration of Independence]

Powerful Essays
1797 words (5.1 pages)

Buddhism as Freedom from Negativity Essay

- Buddhism as Freedom from Negativity The title of this paper is posed as a question so that one can explore and investigate if Buddhism and meditation can bring the mind freedom from negativity. One of the most important things I have learned thus far, is that anger and hatred are based on projections and exaggeration, not on objectivity or wisdom. This stikes me as very important in my search for how to release negativity. If we can accept that things feelings do not come from wisdom, that it may be possible to realize that they are fundamentally incorrect....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
793 words (2.3 pages)

The US Constitution as an Inspiration to the Declaration of Freedom in Kosovo

- ... By placing these limits on the government, this reinforces the idea that true power comes from the people in society, not the government. Thus the Bill of Rights serves as a permanent reminder to the people that the government is not all powerful and they in fact are the ones who have given power to the government in return for upholding the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The First Amendment is without a doubt the most important and well known section of the Bill of Rights. It allows for the protection of the five most essential rights....   [tags: the notion of freedom, Balkan countries]

Powerful Essays
1923 words (5.5 pages)

The Meanings Of Freedom, Equality And Justice Essay

- This essay will talk about the meanings of freedom, equality and justice. It will also address that why these ideas are matter, by exploring the context of these meanings. . The word liberalism comes from a Latin word `liber`, which means a class of free men (Heywood, 2012). According to Hoffman and Graham (2015), liberalism became the world`s dominant ideology (Hoffman & Graham, 2015). Liberalism gives priority to `the right` over `the good` (Heywood, 2012). The concept of political freedom is sharply relevant to the concept of civil liberties and human rights....   [tags: Political philosophy, Liberalism, Human rights]

Powerful Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

Different Meanings Of Medicine And Medicine Essay

- In the paper you will be reading it is going to tell you about how to become an doctor and all it takes. There will be cool you might not heard before, there also will be information and facts given to us from the web site. If you have ever considered going into the medical field out all this paper will be very help for you. There are two different meanings of medicine. The first meaning is the science of healing, practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, and the promotion of health....   [tags: Physician, Medicine, Medical school, Pediatrics]

Powerful Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Types Of Lying With Different Meanings

- Many of us live a life were lying is common and is encountered on a daily. Ask yourself, can you remember the last time someone told you a lie. Or when you told a lie yourself. Ever stop to think why you told that lie. Maybe it was a lie to keep one from being in trouble or simply just trying to impress someone. No matter the size of the lie, big or small, there will always be consequences in the end. But did you know that there are different types of lying with different meanings. We have white lies, deflecting, and then there are some that are really good at lying, we call them bullshitters which tell out-and-out lie and delusion lie....   [tags: Lie, Truth, Bullshit, Time]

Powerful Essays
1061 words (3 pages)

Definition Essay – Different Meanings of Private

- Definition Essay – Different Meanings of Private “Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society.” This was a quote by David Friedman (Friedman). The word dealt with in this essay is ‘private’ and this quote exactly examines one of the prime meanings of private. The main aim of my essay is to explain the different meanings of the word private and to explain the significance and variations of its usage over the past decades....   [tags: Definition Essays]

Powerful Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

What is the Meaning of Freedom? Essay

- Freedom is often spoken of in what can be referred to as a loose sense of the word. One country has more freedom than another; a twenty-one year old has more freedom than a fifteen year old. What exactly does this word mean. For different people it may mean different things, but there has to be an equilibrium that can be reached in order to determine the meaning of freedom itself. In one form, freedom can mean that a person has "exemption from an obligation."* If only the root (free) is looked at, it can be interpreted that one is "not under the control or power of another."* However often the latter definition is used, it is also disagreed with, and for good reason: there is always a rule...   [tags: What Does Freedom Mean?]

Free Essays
373 words (1.1 pages)

Essay about The Meaning of Freedom

- For centuries the word "freedom" has been a topic of debate, and for good reason. There are so many different views of what freedom truly means and what influences it has on our daily lives. According to the American Heritage College Dictionary the word freedom means "The Condition of being free of constraints. To me, the word freedom is being able to achieve anything you want to. It is being able to change your surrounding environment how you want it to be. Many questions have been asked about whether we are truly free of constraints or if everything is predetermined by events that have already transpired....   [tags: Freedom Liberty US Democracy]

Powerful Essays
1636 words (4.7 pages)