psc342assignment2 - Carly Neubauer PSC 342 Prof Lawrence...

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Carly Neubauer PSC 342 Prof. Lawrence Rothstein Writing Assignment 2 What is negative and positive freedom? How would one’s position with regard to emphasizing either negative or positive freedom affect one’s interpretation of Rawl’s two principles of justice? Isaiah Berlin’s essay, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty,’ published in 1969, proposes two questions that provide a distinction between positive and negative freedom. He writes, “The answer to the question, ‘Who governs me?’ is logically distinct from the question ‘How far does government interfere with me?’ Berlin argues that the answers of these questions are where the difference between positive and negative freedom lies (125-126, Rosen, Wolff). Essentially, Berlin’s interpretations of the definitions of positive and negative freedom written in the class text’s excerpt of ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ will be used in this essay. Positive freedom is defined as the ability to achieve a form of self-mastery. In this sense, a person has the right to the ability to fill one’s potential, and also has the right to actively participate in government. Positive freedom frequently refers to a movement of people rather than the individual. In defining positive liberty (the words liberty and freedom are interchangeable in this context. The difference between “liberties” and “freedoms” are simply a difference in style of the terms 1 ), Berlin notes on the origin of the use of the term “positive.” Berlin claims the word “positive” refers to the desire of the
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This note was uploaded on 05/30/2008 for the course PSC 342 taught by Professor Rothstein during the Spring '08 term at Rhode Island.

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psc342assignment2 - Carly Neubauer PSC 342 Prof Lawrence...

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