What is Freedom? (13): Five Increasingly Demanding Types of Freedom

Here are 5 increasingly demanding, and also increasingly complex definitions of freedom:

1. Freedom is being free from coercion and being able to do what you want.

Angela is free because no one forces her not to do the X which she wants to do, and because no one forces her to do the Y which she doesn’t want to do. Angela can walk naked in public because there’s no law making public nudity illegal.

2. Freedom is being free from coercion, being able to do what you want, and being free from the possibility (and risk?) of coercion. It’s the same type of freedom as in Type 1 but with added security for the future. After all, Type 1 can be the case for a minute or so, and then gone. (Requiring that there is a low risk of coercion is of course less demanding than requiring that there is no possibility of coercion, given a risk level higher than 0).

Angela is free because no one can force her not to do the X which she wants to do, and because no one can force her to do the Y which she doesn’t want to do. (Alternatively, Angela is free because there is a very low risk that someone forces her not to do the X which she wants to do, and because there is a very low risk that someone forces her to do the Y which she doesn’t want to do.) Angela can walk naked in public because there’s no law making public nudity illegal and because she doesn’t run the risk of having a law imposed on her in the future. Her lifestyle, as opposed to her fleeting activity, is protected.

3. Freedom is being free from impediments and being able to do what you want, and being free from the possibility (and risk?) of impediments. The word “impediments” has, compared to “coercion”, the advantage of including non-human impediments to being able to do what you want as well as internal impediments (e.g. feelings of guilt or shame, unwanted desires, obsessive compulsive disorders etc.). “Impediments” means everything that “coercion” means, but not vice versa.

Angela is free because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her not to do the X which she wants to do, and because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her to do the Y which she doesn’t want to do. Angela can walk naked in public because there’s no law making public nudity illegal, and because shame or the weather don’t make it impossible.

4. Freedom is being free from impediments and being able to do what you want, being free from the possibility (and risk?) of impediments, and being equipped with the capacities and resources (inner resources and external resources) to do what you want.

Angela is free because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her not to do the X which she wants to do, because Angela has the capabilities and resources (internal or external) necessary for her to do X, because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her to do the Y which she doesn’t want to do, and because she has the capabilities and resources (internal or external) necessary for her not to do Y. Angela can walk naked in public because there’s no law making public nudity illegal, because there’s nothing making this impossible, and because she has the necessary resources such as self-confidence, leisure time etc.

5. Freedom is being free from impediments and being able to do what you want, being free from the possibility (and risk?) of impediments, being equipped with the capacities and resources (inner resources and external resources) to do what you want, and being able to choose what we want to do or be from a wide, unimpeded and undistorted set of choices or set of objects of volition. These impediments and distortions in the set op option can be caused by brainwashing, agenda-setting etc.

Angela is free because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her not to do the X which she wants to do, because Angela has the capabilities and resources (internal or external) necessary for her to do X, because no one and nothing (internal or external) can force her to do the Y she doesn’t want to do, because she has the capabilities and resources (internal or external) necessary for her not to do Y, and because Angela’s decision to want to do X and to not want to do Y was a choice from a wide set of options, a set that was not restricted or distorted in anyway by others. Angela can walk naked in public because walking naked in public is something she has freely chosen to do without others meddling in the set of her options or in her choice of options.

More posts in this series are here.

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3 thoughts on “What is Freedom? (13): Five Increasingly Demanding Types of Freedom”

  1. Dear Sir or Ma’am: I just skimmed through the article you just wrote regarding Angela’s right to walk around nude in public. What really caught my eye, aside from the obvious, was the statement made about there existing no law that prohibits public nudity. You couldn’t be more far from the truth.

    About two years ago I looked the indecent exposure law up on Google and assuming that law hasn’t changed it is still very much illegal to walk around nude in public. Let us not forget the woman in up state New York who walked into two hardware stores naked asking for the time. She was arrested and later released.

    I always thought the laws over in Europe were a lot more lenient than here in the states regarding public nudity but I found out, two years ago, from a friend of mine who lives in Eastern Europe that some of the laws regarding public nudity are pretty much the same as they are here in the states. In Spain, its even illegal to walk around with body paint on.

    I’m a bit of a nudist myself but the only time I indulge in the activity which is quite fun I might add is early in the morning when everyone is asleep as I enjoy taking nude walks up and down my block. Now if people were to regularly see me engaging in this activity particularly with me being a man the authorities would be immediately notified, its happened to me twice already luckily, I was never arrested.

    It just goes to show you, how the vast majority of society, still cringes when it comes to the nude body. What city was this in, where this young woman was legally allowed to walk around naked? Perhaps I should move there. Once upon a time, San Francisco, really didn’t have much in terms of public nudity laws. However, the people voted and now public nudity is prohibited in the city of San Francisco just the same as public intoxication. There was once a site called Nude In LA (Los Angeles) that site was taken down a while ago I’m thinking the owners of that site may have gotten into some trouble simply for shooting young girls walking around naked. Anyway, this is all I have for now be sure to get back to me with your comments, take care.

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  2. […] And yet, I still believe that this doesn’t make non-domination a separate kind of freedom: what makes Nora unfree, even though she is free from immediate coercion, is the risk of future coercion by her master, not simple the fact that she lives under a master and by the grace of this master. Freedom of coercion in any non-trivial sense must include freedom from the risk of coercion. […]

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