Tuesday, February 20, 2018

700: Two Concepts of Freedom and our Autonomy

According to John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), as we saw in the previous lecture, for being autonomous it is crucial 
that we are free to determine ourselves what we do and that we can act without being hindered by others. 
Based on this idea of ​​autonomy, Mill criticizes different forms of paternalism, that is, measures of the State 
that are imposed on citizens, regardless of whether or not they have chosen it themselves.
According to Mill, the government can not determine what is best for us - we have to do that ourselves. 
Paternalism is only permitted, if it can be prevented by means of these measures, that a person harms someone else. We always need a police apparently.
We can basically do what we want with a knife, as long as we do not put it in the back of another person. 
My freedom thus ends where the freedom of the other begins. In addition, paternalism is permitted 
when it comes to measures that are aimed at people who are not able to make autonomous decisions themselves, 
such as people with a psychiatric disorder or young children. 
Mill, for example, would have no problem with compulsory education, but probably with the obligatory wearing of a seatbelt or the obligation to insure against medical expenses.

The freedom ideal of the classical liberal is thus an ideal of 'negative freedom': it is about the absence of external coercion. 
In contrast to this ideal, according to the British philosopher lsaiah Berlin (1909-1997), is the ideal of 'positive freedom'. 

"Two Concepts of Liberty" was the inaugural lecture delivered by the liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin before the University of Oxford on 31 October 1958.
Positive freedom "is involved in the answer to the question 'What, or who, is the source of control or interference 
that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?' The two questions are clearly different, even though the answers to them may overlap."
Positive liberty may be understood as self-mastery, and includes one's having a role in choosing who governs the society of which one is a part. 
Berlin traced positive liberty from Aristotle's definition of citizenship, which is historically derived 
from the social role of the freemen of classical Athens: it was, Berlin argued, the liberty in choosing their government granted to citizens.
So positive freedom means that you determine yourself, by acting in accordance with what you really want. 
If you are determined by desires that you would rather not have, then you are in a positive sense unfree. 
For example, if your girl/boyfriend is addicted to cigarette smoking, she enjoys negative freedom to the extent that she is not obstructed in buying cigarettes. 
However, we can ask ourselves whether it is freedom in a positive sense. Her choice to buy cigarettes is in a way determined by her addiction, and not by herself. 
Her real desire could be to stop smoking. The ideal of positive freedom is therefore linked to the idea of ​​a 'real' me: the person you would actually like to be. 
It is not so much about the absence of external coercion as the ability to determine yourself. There is, however, a weak spot in this positive freedom.
You are free and autonomous, if you can do what you REALLY want, but here is the tricky part:
Is it always the case that it is you yourself, who can tell what you really want or desire?
The logic is somewhat like this: 
(1) Smoking is harmful to your health and life expectancy, (2) nobody wishes to harm his own health (3) yet you smoke.
Conclusion: I have to tell you what you REALLY want, that is, preserving your health and life expectancy: Thence I forbid you the freedom to smoke.
Thank you for your attention ....^_^

The discussion

[13:22] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): There is also the issue of harming others through smoking so it also leads into paternalism that way.
[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): uche
[13:22] CB Axel: Maybe the smoker doesn't care how long he/she lives.
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes indeed, Thales
[13:23] CB Axel: Maybe feeding the addiction is more important than living for a long time.
[13:23] herman Bergson: That is the problem with premise one and two CB
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): who says you will longer live without smoking? you will never know
[13:24] herman Bergson: But they will say that you'll harm society due the the high medical costs for treatment you might cause
[13:25] CB Axel: I could breathe the cleanest air on earth, eat only the healthiest foods, and still die tomorrow.
[13:25] herman Bergson: hat life expectancy argument is indeed also a tricky one
[13:25] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): The problem here is a typical human struggle of short term rewards vs potential long term detriments.
[13:25] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): We're not good at thinking long term.
[13:25] herman Bergson: Got a point there Thales
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): will you give up smoking for a few longer years?...living in anger or so? or have fun from smoking?
[13:26] herman Bergson: The quintessence here is to be able to be your TRUE SELF....
[13:26] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): whatever that is :)
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ( I don't smoke)
[13:27] herman Bergson: Yes indeed....we are in search of the Self here at the moment with our project
[13:27] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): know thyself
[13:27] herman Bergson: The results are rather elusive and liquid, I'd say, so far :-)
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i am not too fond of this philosopher
[13:28] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Who, Mill?
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:28] herman Bergson: I can imagine.....
[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): now here he would be a libertarian
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not liberal
[13:29] herman Bergson: He created the idea of the invisible hand, if I am not mistaken
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i can understand some of the appeal of being totally  alone in control but we do live in society
[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is shared
[13:30] herman Bergson: That idea of sharing is almost lost at the moment....
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i doubt he would be out fixing roads
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or  stopping a person from stabbing someone
[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): or putting out fires
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): when his house was burning down
[13:31] herman Bergson: Mill believed that the economic process would balance things....
[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oh right
[13:32] herman Bergson: sothat everyone would profit
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): where is the proof
[13:32] CB Axel: He sounds like a Republican.
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks he may be one step away from ayn rand
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): in many ways
[13:32] herman Bergson: The problem is that this idea is a fundamental mistake.....
[13:32] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Which idea?
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes
[13:32] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): most of them
[13:33] herman Bergson: the idea of the "Invisible hand"
[13:33] herman Bergson: and our modern idea of permanent economic growth
[13:33] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): is that the economic process?  It's been a long time since I've read Mill
[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): "So positive freedom means that you determine yourself, by acting in accordance with what you really want. "
[13:34] herman Bergson: Then we first should stop advertizement :-)
[13:34] herman Bergson: and commercials :-)
[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Mill assumed that there would be a kind of natural relation between demand and supply...
[13:36] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): The invisible hand theory I guess was a nice idea but it's been put to the test in reality and shown to suffer from the same problems as many systems... that greedy/power hungry people will find ways to game the system in their favour.
[13:37] herman Bergson: (Guess I started typing my memoires :-)
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): there you go
[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): true thales
[13:37] herman Bergson: I agree Thales
[[13:38] herman Bergson: So in what way can we give autonomy to the individual to let him be himself...
[13:38] herman Bergson: Well....let's not try to answer this question
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we never have
[13:39] herman Bergson: for this is the quintessence of all political debate at the oment
[13:39] herman Bergson: At the moment it seems that internationally the people who favor more sharing are the loosing ones
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is so true
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): scary
[13:40] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): At the moment maybe... but demographic shifts may also be happening
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): the new young generation here seems to be more thoughtful about that
[13:40] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Young people seem to be thinking about this stuff with a different attitude
[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes...and like in times of Marx....
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes
[13:40] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Which gives me hope
[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): lets not swing too  far
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: they experience that It isn't working for their parents....
[13:41] herman Bergson: There was a small group of greedy capital and means of production owners...
[13:41] Ciska Riverstone: simelar thing that gave emancipation a push
[13:41] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Gemma I agree, we don't want to swing too far, but we need to swing
[13:41] herman Bergson: and there came a reaction against the rresults of the industrial revolution
[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): here we have swung too far enough to have this president
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): and his cronies
[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): hopefully ......
[13:42] herman Bergson: I recently read the news that the owner of Amazon.com  owns 105 billion dollar as private possession
[13:43] herman Bergson: He could buy the whole Netherlands with it :-)
[13:43] herman Bergson: So....do we need money to be ourselves and autonomous?
[13:43] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i think he is joining with the group that is giving away 80% of it
[13:44] herman Bergson: Even if he does, Gemma, he wouldn't notice it.....
[13:44] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): I wonder what Mill would have thought about autonomy if he was faced with the question of what happens when robots replace most of labour. :)
[13:44] herman Bergson: Besides this "GIVING AWAY' idea can be dangerous and socially disrupting too
[13:45] herman Bergson: Robots don't coerce humans....
[13:45] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): yet :)
[13:45] CB Axel: Is it dangerous? I think he should give it to me as a test.
[13:45] herman Bergson: I see no negative effect on freedom there
[13:46] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): ok.. off topic
[13:46] Ciska Riverstone: heheh cb
[13:46] herman Bergson: That is the safest solution CB...I'll give him a call:-)
[13:46] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): herman the negative effect may be on 'positive freedom' maybe...
[13:46] CB Axel: He has plenty of my money already. °͜°
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you really WANT IT cb
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ?
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it gives you trouble
[13:47] CB Axel: I'm willing to take on those troubles.
[13:47] CB Axel: For the good of all. lol
[13:47] herman Bergson: The longer we discuss the issue the more complex it becomes :-)
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yep
[13:48] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): If automation takes away things that people feel passionate about doing (like building stuff), then that might rob us of feeling productive and take away the 'positive freedom' opportunities.
[13:48] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): always
[13:48] herman Bergson: Can we be autonomous and ourselves....?
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): maybe we can be ourselves only in our minds
[13:49] CB Axel: Mass produced furniture hasn't taken away wood working from people who are passionate about it.
[13:50] herman Bergson: The same problem as when mass production became the method.....the individual looses contact with his (completed) creative product
[13:50] herman Bergson: True CB
[13:50] herman Bergson: In our minds we probably are a Self, Beertje...yes
[13:51] herman Bergson: But for some time now we are trying to figure out here what that means....WHAT is in our minds?
[13:51] herman Bergson: Still fascinating.....
[13:51] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): i fear it is elusive
[13:51] Ciska Riverstone: mh - look at the tons of diy  blogs - is it really gone?
[13:52] herman Bergson: But I guess we better put our minds to rest now after this complicated discussion :-)
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: the point is if someone wants to be creative he / she will be - no matter what
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I need another glass of wine now :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: What   kind of blogs Ciska?
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: cheers Beertje
[13:53] bergfrau Apfelbaum: i am living now (even twice:-) i decide now, i enjoy it now,... my cigarette and the red wine and all of you ::-) ty herman and class
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: do it yourself blogs
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: who do a lot of carpeting
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: and creative product design
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:53] bergfrau Apfelbaum: cheersBeertje:-)
[13:53] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Proost, santé
[13:53] Ciska Riverstone: cheers bergie
[13:53] herman Bergson: Ok....before we all get drunk....
[13:53] bergfrau Apfelbaum: cheers:-)all
[13:53] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha
[13:53] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol
[13:54] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for your participation.....^_^
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:54] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....:-)
[13:54] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:54] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): bye for now
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:54] Θαλής (thalesmiletus): Thanks Herman
[13:54] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ty Herman
[[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ( going to sleep completely confused now)
[13:54] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): see you all soon
[13:54] CB Axel: Beertje, you sound like me every night.
[13:54] herman Bergson: oh dear.....Beertje....!
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): smiles..
[13:55] CB Axel: Welterusten, y'all.
[13:55] Ciska Riverstone: welterusten
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): welterusten allemaal
[13:55] herman Bergson: Bye CB :-)
[13:55] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebyes :-) see you soon

[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Gute Nacht Bergie

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