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Traditionally philosophers have distinguished two senses of the word freedom. The most common use is "negative" and is defined as the absence of constraint. Thus for Hobbes, one is free, when the law is silent on a subject. But "freedom" is also used in another positive sense, where freedom is defined as the ability to transcend the social and cultural restraints which limit the potential of the individual for self actualization. This latter sense is common to the romantic? and individualistic philosophy of 19th century Germany.

Another common distinction made between kinds of freedom is the difference between "freedom from" social, and political ills, and "freedom to" do what one wants.

See also: free


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Last edited October 13, 2001 4:44 am by Mark Christensen (diff)