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Lecture 11

PHILOS 1B03 Lecture 11: On Liberty 2

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McMaster University
James Sikemma

On Liberty 2 – Taylor & Dworkin TAYLOR - If liberty is only negatively conceived, then a society that had quantitatively fewer constraining factors would be more liberal than a society having more - So, e.g., if Albanian Socialism restricts the freedom of religion, but had far fewer traffic laws than, e.g. Great Britain, the latter would, from a crudely negative conception, be less free - The embarrassment for the crude negative theory  by itself it does not make qualitative discriminations about what liberties are more significant than others - We alienate ourselves from power - We gave up participation and democratic power - Negative conception of liberty, freedom - free to do something as no one else is curtailing that activity - Freedom means becoming fully human and you’re not human if you do whatever you want - If we think that various freedoms (e.g. belief, speech, association, pursuit of happiness, etc.) should remain unconstrained then we have already made a positive liberty claim o Distinguishing between fundamental and subsidiary freedoms involves a decision about what is more or less important for the purposes of human beings - But what determines what humans think is of more or less importance? - The freedom of association/speech ranks higher than, for example, the freedom to pick up a coin from the ground - Strong Evaluation: distinguishing between first and second-order desires - First-Order Desire: having a desire, feeling of a want  the fact of desire - Second-Order Desire: desires about desires, wants about wants felt  the value we place on desires o How we coordinate the things we happen to desire (do I want to act on that desire?) - Second-Order Desires are Import-Attributing - While we can’t be wrong in the having of desires, we can be wrong in the import we attribute to them by means of our second-order desires - The fact that you have desire is neither wrong or right - We can only make the necessary qualitative distinctions about what liberties we value at the expense of others in relation to import-attributing second-order desires - No society that values liberty can fail to make import-attributing discriminations about what activities, what liberties, are more valuable than others o Thus, if negative liberty defines the minimum permissible constraints on
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