The Many Faces of Freedom

If ‘freedom’ is the ‘absence of constraints’; then what qualifies as a ‘constraint’? Is gravity a constraint? Are we ever fully unconstrained? If not, then which constraints curtail our freedom and which ones do not? Our scientific account of the world suggests that everything is fully causally determined. If true, then how can we be free to choose how we act? How do we uphold moral and legal responsibility? Philosophers have grappled with these problems for centuries; this course is a survey of their various interpretations and prescriptions.

DELIVERY MODE

  • Face-to-Face

SUGGESTED READING

  • Arendt, H.: "What is Freedom", in Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought (New York: Viking, 1961).
  • Augustine of Hippo (St.): De libero arbitrio, tr. as “On Free Choice of the Will”.
  • Berlin, I. (1958): The Two Concepts of Liberty.
  • Dennett, D.C.: Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003).
  • Hobbes, T. (1651): Leviathan.
  • Mackie, J.L. (1977): Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (Penguin, 1991).
  • Mill, J.S. (1859): On Liberty (Harvard Classics, P. F. Colllier and Son, 1909).
  • Sapolsky, R.M. (2017): Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin).
  • Schopenhauer, A. (1839): On the Freedom of the Will.
  • Searle, J.R. (2008): Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power (Columbia University Press).
  • Taylor, C.M.: Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Harvard University Press, 1989).

COURSE OUTLINE

  • The definition of “Freedom”
  • Physical freedom
  • ‘Quantum’ freedom
  • The paradox of Free Will
  • Metaphysical freedom
  • Freedom from ‘external constraints’
  • Freedom from ‘internal constraints’
  • Freedom as ‘self-realisation’
  • Freedom as ‘independence’

LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Become acquainted with the various definitions of ‘freedom’ in both the physical and metaphysical sense.
  2. Understand the distinction between internal and external freedom; and between ‘freedom from’, ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom of'.
  3. Appreciate the tension between ‘Freedom” and “Will”.
  4. Gain insights into the relationship between freedom, moral responsibility, the Law, and social and political power.
$81 Limited / $73

<p>If ‘freedom’ is the ‘absence of constraints’; then what qualifies as a ‘constraint’? Is gravity a constraint? Are we ever fully unconstrained? If not, then which constraints curtail our freedom and

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16 Mar

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