Is absolute freedom unjust

July 13, 2015, 8:12 am

Agree27 Disagree21


The debate "Is absolute freedom unjust" was started by clemnlawrence on July 13, 2015, 8:12 am. 27 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 21 people are on the disagree side. That might be enough to see the common perception. It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.

Sosocratese posted 3 arguments, toughgamerjerry posted 2 arguments to the agreers part.
I_Voyager posted 2 arguments, PsychDave posted 2 arguments to the disagreers part.

clemnlawrence, Atharav, Sosocratese, sabrina, toughgamerjerry, HowdyDoody03, jonatron5, musejay1, TruthSeekerCivilSpeaker, xbulletwithbutterflywingsx and 17 visitors agree.
BernieSanders4pres, I_Voyager, PsychDave, ajay17, latz, Turtle, Shi, Girl101, denno27, Skeetc15, wayneSPEC and 10 visitors disagree.

Perhaps the best illustration of rights vs freedoms was done by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan.

He proposes a world without government where the only laws are natural laws. He describes this world as the natural state. In the natural state every person has a right, or license, to everything in the world. You may recognize the end of this quote:

In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

This, according to Hobbes, is an undesirable state. In order then to form a desirable state, individuals accede to a social contract. In this contract, individuals freely surrender certain freedoms in order to protect their rights. Any power exercised by the state can then not be resisted since this power is grounded in the surrender of power/freedom by the individual for protection.

So, protection of rights, must then come from a surrender of freedom. If I live in a society, then I'm not free to exercise my claim on everything in the world as mine. I'm restricted from acting on every desire which I am capable and willing to act upon. Freedom concerns the limitations (or lack thereof) of actions, thoughts, and desires.

Rights, are entitlements an agent is imbued with by the virtue of being. The violation of rights is a matter of justice and morality. Justice and morality are linked so closely because of the concepts of rights. Infringing on someone else's rights however, is a freedom we all posses according to the natural state since it is inevitable that two or more people would lay claim to some part of the world. According to the natural state, each party has a right to the claimed object; all are free to choose how and if to claim it. In a society however, this freedom to choose if and how we will claim the object is limited. We are limited by the social contract we chose to bind ourselves with.

So in the presence of absolute freedom, justice cannot be served for there is no protector of the rights, there is only the natural state.

4 years, 4 months ago

The society you describe is not absolute freedom, it is might makes right anarchy. Freedom is not simply a lack of government. As soon as one person forces their will onto another it can no longer be called absolute freedom. How can you define someone being imprisoned as absolute freedom?

A society of absolute freedom is almost impossible to conceive because of the limitations of reality. In a virtual world however it would be a simple thing to give each person their own creation. A universe of their own to mold and create in absolute freedom. Visiting another's world could be possible, and cooperative worlds would also be possible, but each person would have absolute control over their world. In this way no one could impose their will on another without consent.

4 years, 4 months ago


you have absolute freedom to choose any pizza you like.... No Hamburger though.... Are you really free to choose then?

I'm not going into determinism vs free will since that seems to be a whole conversation onto itself.... Figured removing institutional restrictions would illustrate the point.

Absolute freedom doesn't mean the protection from others infringing on your rights. Freedom is the ability to act to the fullest on one's desires, capabilities, and will. Rights are a part of justice. If your rights are being violated, you can still be free.

Let's say we have a society of absolute freedom. So anyone can act as they have the desire, will, and ability to do so. This means, I'm free to imprison someone against their will for my own gain. I'm violating their rights, however, they are still free to act as they desire, will, and are capable. So if they desire to be a non-prisoner, are willing to do what it takes, and are able to kill me, then they are free to do so.

If however, they are unwilling, or unable to do what it takes to accomplish their desire, they are no less free, they are simply unable.

This would be the same as saying agent x has the desire to be a singer, has the will to be a singer, but is lacking any sort of talent. You wouldn't say agent x is barred from being a singer, you would say agent x is not capable of being a singer.

4 years, 4 months ago

Then there cannot be absolute freedom because there are things that we can not do because they would be interfering with others freedom.

4 years, 4 months ago

If someone was acting against others then they do not have absolute freedom. For it to be absolute, everyone would need to be free, not just those able to take advantage of others. The moment someone forces their will on another, it cannot be called absolute freedom. There would be no need to seek justice as no one would interfere with another's freedom.

4 years, 4 months ago

It would be because my rights end where your rights begin.

4 years, 4 months ago
replied to...

In fact, if we want to play it your way we need far more regression than mere freedom from justice and state. We need freedom from physics and biology. True absolute freedom would preclude freedom from determinism, which requires a non-deterministic state.

Or I could just be hungry.

4 years, 4 months ago

It's about the nature of absolute freedom. Absolute freedom means an agent is able to act on any desire which is he/she has the ability and will to act upon without fear of institutional retaliation or coercion.

That, if universally applied, means justice cannot be administered and thus is unjust. If an agent has, by law, absolute freedom, he/she is able to commit murder, rape, etc... Without recourse since he was legally unbound. The victim, family, friends, etc.... Who were violated have no legal recourse, so they will only see justice in so far as they are able to administrate it themselves. If they do not have the ability to get justice for themselves, the act will go unpunished and the victims without justice. Therefore, absolute freedom, if universally applied, is unjust.

4 years, 4 months ago

It depends on how absolute freedom is attained. If you use an abusive or coercive method to achieve absolute economic and political freedom, your abuses were unjust, and therefore the product was unjustly attained. If you use moral methods to achieve freedom it isn't unjust.

Essentially "Is absolute freedom absolutely unjust?" No. "Can absolute freedom be unjust?" Yes.

4 years, 4 months ago
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