Saturday, January 8, 2022

965: The New Project = The Concept of Freedom....

 It is nice to see you all again at the start of a new year and a new project. First of all I wish you all a good health and happiness in 2022.


Time for a new project: The concept of Freedom. In this project I'll focus mainly on the political meaning of freedom.


Today most people equate freedom with the possession of inalienable individual rights, rights that define a private domain which no government may infringe upon. 


But has this always been the case? Does this definition, where freedom depends on the curtailment of state power, 


really provide the only, if not the most natural, view of what it means to be free in a society or as a society?


And if not, how and why has our conception of freedom changed? Our current idea of ​​freedom must be understood as a deliberate and drastic break with conceptions of freedom that are much older. 


For centuries Western thinkers and politicians have defined freedom not as protection against state interference, but as control by the people over the way in which government is governed.


They had a democratic concept of freedom: a free state was a state in which people governed themselves, 


even if they lacked fundamental rights, an independent judiciary and other mechanisms that guard the limits of legitimate state power. 


This democratic concept of freedom was developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans and revived in modern times by Renaissance humanists. 


These humanistic ideas, in turn, inspired the American, Dutch, Polish and French revolutionaries of the late eighteenth century. 


When these revolutionaries rose up, they did so in the name of freedom. But the freedom they fought for was not the freedom to enjoy their lives and their possessions in peace and without government interference. 


It was the freedom to rule oneself as the ancient Greeks and Romans had. 


For more than two thousand years, freedom was thus equated with self-government by the people.


It was not until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that political thinkers in Europe and the United States began to spread different ideas about freedom.


Many argued that freedom was not a matter of who ruled. No, freedom was determined by the degree to which you were ruled. 


Where did this shift in thinking about freedom come from? Why was the democratic concept replaced by the idea that freedom depends on the curtailment of state power?


In fact the whole debate on freedom is about the centuries-old question Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679) struggled with.


To create a society does man need a government or not and if he does to what extent has this government power over the individual?


The American Republicans have no political program at all, but when asked what their starting points are, one of the first things you hear is the mantra "small government".


So, let's enjoy our freedom here and embark on this journey, enjoy the New Year and make it to our lecture number 1000 in good health


Thank you for your attention again...

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Annelien de Dijn: "Freedom. An unruly history".  2020

The Discussion


[13:09] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): 1000!!!  WOW!!  Congratulations, Professor Bergson!

[13:10] herman Bergson: Well there is something special with lecture 1000

[13:10] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:10] Jane Fossett: A Mega-Class

[13:10] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:10] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok good topic

[13:10] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): A kilo-class.

[13:10] herman Bergson: The day I wanted to deliver my 500th lecture I got a heartattack in RL :-))

[13:10] Jane Fossett: (yes)

[13:10] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ohoh

[13:10] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): oh my GOSH!!

[13:10] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): thinks i recall

[13:11] herman Bergson: and now comes 1000 = 2 x 500 ^_^

[13:11] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): You, and we, in turn, are blessed

[13:11] herman Bergson: You'd better be not superstitious

[13:12] herman Bergson: I am blessed indeed since I still live since that day in 2013

[13:12] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): freedom to me is to not live under a tyrrannic ruler like in Russia North Korea or Iran/Afghanistan, have freedom of speech, not being constantly monitored by government or rick of being punished for saying or doing the smallest wrong

[13:12] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): oola Hello/Ciao/Hola/Bonjour/Hallo,

[13:12] herman Bergson: to my right is an empty chair oola

[13:12] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hallo Oola

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ho oola

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hi

[13:13] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with China, these people are not free in my meaning

[13:13] oola Neruda: hello... so sorry

[13:13] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I'm Sorry! bye

[13:13] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I sorry..

[13:14] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) is offline.

[13:14] herman Bergson: So...our new project...a hot issue at the moment in a world where seems to be a growing tendency towards authoritarian rule

[13:14] Jane Fossett: It depends where you think the origin of power originates; is there a 'divine right' or does that right emerge from the people themselves?

[13:14] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): I would say it's an individualistic definition of freedom, as opposed to the earlier collectivistic definition. Of course someone who aim to be on top of a society and control that society wants to be able to say "Look at all the freedom we have here, with me chosen to rule you all"...

[13:14] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed Herman, a worrying development direction

[13:14] herman Bergson: Yes Jane and Sinne

[13:15] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): It is, after all, easier to rule subjects that have absolutely no recourse against your power.

[13:15] herman Bergson: This project will deal with these specific aspects of the development of freedom

[13:15] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): perhaps freedom can only be gained by one's personal perspective.

[13:15] Jane Fossett: In the West, the Magna Carta was a big step perhaps

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at work me and another joke often about we would be the best dictators in the world, we demand  free beer and that everyone is happy, thats our tules

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:15] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that is good dictatorship

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and of course world wide ban on wars

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so 3 main rules

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:16] herman Bergson: Nice joke ^+^

[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): too bad its just a joke

[13:17] herman Bergson: There is also something like education, economy healthcare, foreign affairs etc. :-)

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but at least its a nice idea

[13:17] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.

[13:17] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep and these things dont manage itself so it is not as easy as those 3 things

[13:17] herman Bergson: The COVID crisis nicely shows the problem with  freedom...

[13:17] herman Bergson: Mandatory vaccination yes/no?

[13:18] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Or rather, the problem with worthless education.

[13:18] herman Bergson: Exclusion of non vaccinated people from public locations?

[13:18] herman Bergson: Just name it...and you are debating freedom

[13:18] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): I think the working work here, in the context of covid, is bioweaponed

[13:19] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): It doesn't matter if everyone has an education if that education is focused on getting the students to conform to current political goals of whatever establishment.

[13:19] herman Bergson: and the right to ingringe on that freedom by a govenment

[13:19] Jane Fossett: This is a long term problem... can you shout 'fire' in a crowded thgeatre

[13:20] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): There is no freedom of expression that the left would be willing to respect, all justified by "fire in a crowded theatre".

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm true, however here it is also for the best of us (to stop us dying from spreading endless infection), while in other countries its just about terrorizing people, like Putin do with his opponents, even going so far as poison murder and torture

[13:20] Jane Fossett: where to draw that line is an issue

[13:20] herman Bergson: .

[13:21] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Well, if you are willing to draw that line at "unless your freedom of speech offends someone", you don't have freedom of speech.

[13:21] herman Bergson: Yes, Jane....where and  what standards...?

[13:22] herman Bergson: the problem is already in the word "offend"

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the Covid restrictions im all on because its for good

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we need to stop this

[13:22] herman Bergson: Who decides what is offensive?

[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): disease

[13:22] Jane Fossett: It's only a bit off-point, but I think much of this keeps returning to whether you think there is an overriding moral principle or whether we rule by consensus prasctical ethics

[13:22] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Professor, don't you know that it's ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS the victim who decides that?

[13:22] herman Bergson: And yet we have to live together in a society

[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the equation is easy, do u want to do good for or harm people

[13:23] herman Bergson: is that so Sinne?

[13:23] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): It is a slogan the identitarian groups everywhere have been spreading for ages now.

[13:23] Jane Fossett: society should be consensus ethics, not religous hegemony

[13:23] herman Bergson: Then someone could claim to be offended by you because you said "rabbit"

[13:24] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): And they would be right.

[13:24] herman Bergson: But we do not live in a cultural vacuum....

[13:25] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Which is my point: Leftist ideology as it stands respects no freedom of expression whatsoever.

[13:25] Jane Fossett: culture is maybe 'social consensus'?

[13:25] herman Bergson: A society has rules and to make any random word offensive...Ifind problematic....

[13:25] herman Bergson: I'd say yes jane

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:26] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): In a society where everything is narratives, with no objective truth... the winner is the strongest and loudest.

[13:26] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): This has been the situation for decades.

[13:26] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea) looks at Professor Bergson with complete admiration and respect.

[13:26] oola Neruda: the left does not respect freedom of expression??????? hmmmmm.... that could easily be said of the right

[13:26] herman Bergson: Interesting point Sinne

[13:26] Jane Fossett: but many groups believe is a religous moral base to the rules of society

[13:27] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): So because I don't like the left's view of freedom of expression, I must support the right's, oola?

[13:27] herman Bergson: Again Sinne the poison is in the word "objective'

[13:27] Jane Fossett: good example: should brothers and sister be allowed to marry?

[13:27] herman Bergson: I mean the philosophical poison :-)

[13:28] herman Bergson: Do we have that freedom?

[13:28] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Not really, professor. You just need to accept the existence of an objective world, and then you can have your narratives as close or distant predictive models of that objective world.

[13:29] herman Bergson: I'd say....nature doesn't accept that freedom the homo sapiens can take

[13:30] herman Bergson: I agree Sinne, but it doesn't works aways that way....just take the believe in The Big Lie in the US

[13:30] Jane Fossett: I think social rules need to be set by fact and group consensus

[13:30] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): The background for the "no objective reality" is simply several thinkers making a sodding mess when trying to understand Descartes.

[13:30] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): pure and true nature, perhaps, has more freedom than homo sapiens

[13:31] Jane Fossett: I'm not so sure Descartes understood Descartes...

[13:31] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): laughs

[13:32] herman Bergson: I thinl Descartes made a big mistake with his Cogito

[13:32] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): The Big Lie is a shit explanation for what happened, because it fails at innumerable points of measurement. An objective reality makes The Big Lie hugely easier to deal with.

[13:32] Jane Fossett: Cogito ergo Zoom

[13:32] CONNIE Eichel is online.

[13:32] herman Bergson: Zoom in on your belly button :-)

[13:32] Jane Fossett: :-)\

[13:33] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): In short, it is possible that we're just brains in a tank, BUT IT DOESN'T GIVE US ANYTHING USEFUL to get further. It's pseudophilsophical wankery.

[13:33] herman Bergson: What do you regard as objective reality Sinne?

[13:33] herman Bergson: You mean The matrix, Sinne?

[13:34] Jane Fossett: or SL? Is SL a 'reality?'

[13:34] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): I accept the existence of a predictable, objective reality. Since I do that, I can then make measurements of that, albeit imperfectly, and mold my understanding closer to that objective reality.

[13:34] Jane Fossett: `agreed

[13:34] herman Bergson: ok...yes

[13:34] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): It is the basis of all real science, i.e. science based on measurement etc, and not political dogma.

[13:35] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): According to Dr. Robert Malone, we are all currently living in a world of mass psychosis freedom at all.

[13:35] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): That crap is most properly called propaganda.

[13:35] herman Bergson: Society is unfortunately more than science

[13:36] herman Bergson: Interesting point.....

[13:36] Jane Fossett: science can measure the impact of social rules, however.

[13:36] herman Bergson: We may be constantly manipulated by commercials for instance

[13:36] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Well, yes. But we COULD throw out current academia of psychology, sociology, etc, and set up scientific research there instead of propaganda.

[13:37] herman Bergson: So, maybe this belief in individual freedom may be questionable

[13:37] Jane Fossett: yes... how do we decide who to expel

[13:37] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): That should be rather obvious, Jane

[13:38] herman Bergson: I get a McCarthy feeling here

[13:38] Jane Fossett: 'bad spellers' should be cast into the abyss

[13:38] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Don't worry about those people: They will go on to have rewarding jobs in various political think tanks, doing the exact same things.

[13:38] herman Bergson: McCarthy...wasn't it?

[13:38] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i at least select what commercials i want to affect me, and even me like this classic Coca Cola commercial they do on Christmas and sure it is a product i like

[13:38] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Let science be actual science.

[13:38] Jane Fossett: :-)\

[13:38] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): Scientific research now is questionable since half the world's eminent scientists are censored.

[13:39] Jane Fossett: they are?

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but then we have all these gambling companies today taking up 90 % of commercials and they just want u to become gambling dependent and loose all money

[13:39] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Lotteries are a tax on stupidity...

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): soo tired of these

[13:39] Jane Fossett: how do they get to be eminent if they are muted?

[13:40] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): they were eminent then muted in the last two years

[13:40] oola Neruda: as a journalist... i find it interesting that there is a rule in journalism....:  write on the level of a 12 year old

[13:40] herman Bergson: I gear here a rather negative view of the scientific world....

[13:40] oola Neruda: for newspapers

[13:41] herman Bergson: hear

[13:41] Jane Fossett: I thought it was "8 year old"

[13:41] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Don't you think it's deserved, professor?

[13:41] herman Bergson: I can't judge that....

[13:41] herman Bergson: I am to far and long away from university politics

[13:42] Jane Fossett: I like some scientists...

[13:42] oola Neruda: Fox news might be for 8 year olds

[13:42] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): They have their political goals to reach. They control who gets to publish in their field. They don't really care about scientific method, only faithfulness to the dogma.

[13:42] Jane Fossett: 'They?'

[13:42] oola Neruda: follow the money

[13:43] herman Bergson: There is some truth in that  indeed, Sinne

[13:43] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): That isn't science. It's propaganda. And a price we pay to have these people doing "science" is that nobody does actual research in those fields

[13:43] herman Bergson: You mean the social sciences, Sinne?

[13:43] oola Neruda: depends upon the field.... and the money backing them

[13:43] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Yes.

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm

[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as long there is money to make no rules apply it seems

[13:44] Jane Fossett: it's important to have a well educated society that can think and evaluate information critically

[13:44] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Absolutely, oola. No shortage of political apparatchiks from either direction

[13:44] herman Bergson: I role for the government Jane :-)

[13:45] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Gramsci's long march through the institutions has been largely effective.

[13:45] herman Bergson: Who is Gramsci?

[13:45] herman Bergson: Grammer school science?

[13:45] Jane Fossett: :-)

[13:45] theo Velde is offline.

[13:46] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): The originator of the concept that the left should affect politics by getting people in everywhere they could, such as in academia.

[13:46] Jane Fossett: some Italian Marxist...

[13:46] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): so true, sinne

[13:46] herman Bergson: But that is what the Republicans seem to do, if I am not mistaken?

[13:47] oola Neruda: like selecting election workers for next time

[13:47] herman Bergson: Besides that There is a difference between Europe and the US

[13:47] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): The right has woken up to this reality, and pushed their people in, which makes exactly nothing better. Science should be science, not propaganda.

[13:47] oola Neruda: redistricting

[13:48] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): "the politics of freedom"

[13:48] Jane Fossett: Yes Science should be science, and often is, I think.

[13:48] herman Bergson: I guess we have not yet reached the end of this discussion.....a long way to go, I'd say

[13:48] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Agreed. Most of the natural sciences are still free from such infection

[13:48] Jane Fossett: :-)

[13:48] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): Science is not science when big pharma pays for the results it wants

[13:48] oola Neruda: depends upon their funding

[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): this is all about the US i presume?

[13:49] herman Bergson: Let me thank you for this perfect take off into the New Year....^_^

[13:49] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Thank you, professor

[13:49] Jane Fossett: Wooots thank you

[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and lets make science stay science

[13:49] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): One's homework might be to explore The Great Barrington Declaration

[13:49] herman Bergson: And I like your opinions Sinne ...interesting :-)

[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa

[13:49] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano): Thank you.

[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:49] Lady Jane Grey (theiarhea): Thank you, Professor Bergson

[13:50] Jane Fossett: xxx

[13:50] herman Bergson: Homework...!

[13:50] herman Bergson: Make a note of it :-))

[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ill check that

[13:50] herman Bergson: Thank you all for your enthousiastic start :-)

[13:50] herman Bergson: Class dismissed....

[[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): great start

[13:51] herman Bergson: This was interesting

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa

[13:51] Sinne (sousinne.ceriano) blows a kiss to the others and waves

[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and class!

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu Sinne

[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: super start

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): YAY! (yay!)

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