Friday, July 13, 2007


Freedom is the ability to act without restraint, or the ability to have access to particular resources without constraint. Defined thusly, 'freedom' is a broad notion, not necessarily covering the same field as 'free will'. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin thus drew an important distinction between "freedom from" (negative freedom) and "freedom to" (positive freedom). For example, freedom from oppression and freedom to develop one's potential. Both these types of freedom are in fact reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the context of internal control, freedom is also known as self-determination, individual sovereignty, or autonomy.

The protection of interpersonal freedom can be the object of a social and political investigation, while the metaphysical foundation of inner freedom is a philosophical and psychological question. Both forms of freedom come together in each individual as the internal and external values mesh together in a dynamic compromise and power struggle; the society fighting for power in defining the values of individuals and the individual fighting for societal acceptance and respect in establishing one's own values in it.

In those with spiritual beliefs, freedom may encompass the peaceful acceptance of reality. The theological question of freedom generally focuses on reconciling the experience or reality of inner freedom with the omnipotence of the divine.

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