Two Concepts Of Liberty

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Two Concepts of Liberty: Isaiah Berlin The essay “Two Concepts of Liberty” which was presented by Isaiah Berlin is a very important piece of political philosophy. He explains the two different concepts of freedom. One being negative, and the other being positive. The difference between the two could be the very answer Berlin aimed at informing the public on how our community acts together or individually to shape our society. In Berlin’s essay, he argues “It is one thing to say I may be coerced for my own good which I am too blind to see… with the greatest desperation.” In this specific passage from his essay, he is asking himself if he is ‘free’ or ‘truly free’ in his decision making. Berlin believed in human freedom, and defended the negative idea of freedom. He believed negative freedom was simpler and was a better way to gain personal freedom as an individual. With positive freedom comes limits to full liberty because positive freedom meant individuals worked together to reach their overall goals, which meant there were set equalities amongst everyone. The very idea of sharing meant he could not be ‘truly’ free in a sense where his personal freedom was compromised. In negative freedoms, there were unlimited choices and opportunities available for an individual, as where positive freedom is concerned with questioning the individual if he is allowed to seek certain opportunities and even questioning if the individual is in full control of his life. In Berlin’s essay, he states “Just as a democracy may, in fact, deprive the individual citizen of a great many liberties which he might have in some other form of society, so it is perfectly conceivable that a liberal- minded despot would allow his subjects a large measure of personal freedom.” He believes democracy does not equal true freedom because there is a sense of control by an enforcer of some kind, which

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