Final Notes - Berlin Class Notes Written in the 1950s has...

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Berlin Class Notes Written in the 1950s; has been very influential *Liberty is synonymous with freedom* Two Concepts of Liberty o Negative: What is the area in which an individual should be left autonomous (without interference). Measured by how many obstacles we encounter o Positive: What/who is the source of control that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that (what/who is the source of interference) Freedom to govern o The 2 concepts of liberty are independent; they describe different things; they can exist without each other o Not just freedom from external interference, but also removing internal interferences o Both are required in a civilized society Negative Liberty: Berlin favors negative liberty o Relative Absence of Deliberative Interference that Diminishes Options Only forms of interference make you unfree. So lack of freedom is not the same as inability/disability/physical laws of nature (i.e. flying) o Freedom is interpersonal (social/political concept between people) Used to measure the extent of interference o Freedom is not measured by the number of options available, simply by how many obstructions interfere with one’s ability to make choices o In some circumstances lack of action can constitute interference o Interference must be deliberate (i.e. tripping and blocking a stairway) o Diminishing options Reducing the number of options Making an option less valuable Value of the options should not be defined by an individual’s desires Ex) A tyrant removing the unfavorable options from his citizens o This is still interference o Does Poverty reduce Negative Liberty (are you less free) If the best explanation of your poverty is your choices then you are not unfree If you view poverty like a physical disability, by nature you’re unable (which doesn’t have to do with freedom; it occurs naturally) If poverty is a result of how we designed the political system then poverty is a consequences of human agency. Therefore it is a form of unfreedom Is normally a kind of unfreedom Yes, you are less free (according to Berlin) o *Libertarianism = Rooted in property rights. It’s not pro-freedom, it’s pro- property rights* o What is its value? Instrumental: Liberty’s effect on Society
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With individual freedom people can experiment which will make society progress much faster (JS Mill) Berlin thinks that a society that doesn’t respect negative liberty may be capable of making more progress than otherwise o If you leave people to their own devices there’s no guarantee they will do anything useful (i.e. if Einstein watched TV all day) Instrumental: Liberty’s effect on The Individual People will tend to use liberty to benefit themselves. Liberty is good because it helps us make better choices Intrinsic The process of freedom itself is what’s good. “The essence of human nature” is to make one’s own choices; dignity of the human
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  • Spring '14
  • Hayward
  • Law, Anarchism, Civil and political rights, Negative and positive rights, positive liberty

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