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Unit-3 Debates on Freedom | STUDYSHIP MA NOTES

Hi students, welcome to #studyship . From this onwards ,I'm starting publishing notes MA (Political Science) Programme for the paper-1 #DebatesinPoliticalTheory of #delhiuniversity. These notes are not restricted to use for only DU students, if you feel the content is same for your paper. Feel free to use it. So let's explore🤩


Introduction: Debates on freedom have been pivotal in philosophical, political, and ethical discourse. They explore diverse dimensions, from ancient to modern conceptions, autonomy, negative and positive liberty, freedom in market economies, the republican model, and freedom as a developmental process. These discussions shed light on the intricate nature and diverse interpretations of freedom across different philosophical and ideological frameworks.

A. Ancient vs. Modern Liberty (Constant)

Constant's Views:

  • Ancient Liberty: Emphasizes collective participation in political decisions, associating liberty with active engagement in communal affairs.

  • Modern Liberty: Contrasts ancient liberty, focusing on individual autonomy, personal rights, and freedom from state interference.

  • Critiques: Challenges in balancing individual autonomy with civic responsibilities, ensuring liberty without infringing on others' rights.

B. Freedom as Autonomy (Kant, Mill)

Kant's Autonomy:

  • Principles: Emphasizes self-governance, where individuals set their own moral laws, guided by reason.

  • Moral Imperative: Duty-based autonomy, acting according to principles one would universalize.

  • Critiques: Challenges in practical application, potential conflicts between individual autonomy and societal norms.

Mill's Perspective:

  • Principles: Advocates for individual freedom, emphasizing personal autonomy, and self-expression.

  • Harm Principle: Individuals should be free to act unless their actions harm others.

  • Critiques: Balancing individual liberty with societal well-being; potential for misuse in defining harm.

C. Negative vs. Positive Liberty (Berlin, MacCallum)

Berlin's Negative Liberty:

  • Concept: Emphasizes absence of interference or constraints, where individuals are free from external coercion.

  • Two Concepts of Liberty: Differentiates between negative liberty (freedom from interference) and positive liberty (freedom to achieve one's potential).

  • Critiques: Challenges in defining non-interference, potential neglect of societal inequalities.

MacCallum's Positive Liberty:

  • Perspective: Views freedom as capacity or opportunity to realize one's potential, considering internal obstacles.

  • Debates: Challenges in defining and achieving positive liberty without infringing on negative liberty.

D. Freedom and the Market (Libertarians)

Libertarian Viewpoint:

  • Principles: Emphasizes individual freedom, advocating for minimal state intervention in economic and personal affairs.

  • Free Market: Belief in the free market as a vehicle for individual freedom and societal progress.

  • Critiques: Challenges concerning inequality, potential exploitation, and neglect of collective goods.

E. Republican Conception (Skinner)

Republican Perspective:

  • Concept: Focuses on freedom as non-domination, where individuals are free from subjection to arbitrary powers.

  • Emphasis: Emphasizes the importance of institutions that safeguard citizens' freedom from undue influence.

  • Critiques: Challenges in implementing non-domination and ensuring practical application in complex societies.

F. Freedom as Development (Sen)

Sen's Approach:

  • Principles: Views freedom as the capability to pursue one's goals and lead a fulfilling life.

  • Development as Freedom: Emphasizes enhancing individuals' capabilities and opportunities as a measure of freedom.

  • Critiques: Challenges in operationalizing the concept of capabilities and addressing structural inequalities.

Conclusion: Debates on freedom traverse varied philosophical, political, and ethical realms, reflecting diverse interpretations and dimensions of freedom. Balancing ancient and modern conceptions, understanding freedom as autonomy, deliberating negative versus positive liberty, examining freedom in market economies, evaluating the republican model, and viewing freedom as development are essential in shaping ethical frameworks, policies, and societal norms. Striking a balance between individual autonomy, societal well-being, non-domination, and capability enhancement is pivotal in fostering more inclusive, just, and free societies. Achieving freedom demands an understanding of its multifaceted nature and continual discourse on balancing individual liberties with collective responsibilities for a more equitable future.

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