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(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
However, are we justified in placing freedom of action & freedom from molestation in this category (as we have done)? The arguments for & against may be broken down as follows.
- Arguments against freedom as a natural good:
- Few societies, both historically and at present, have allowed such privileges to many of their members.
- It seems that few species have a great deal of concern for the individuals that make up their membership.
- Hence, it may be that the modern liberal value placed on individual human liberty is simply a matter of choice that individuals (and, occasionally, societies) prefer.
- Arguments in favour of freedom as a natural good:
- What may be called a "principle of fecundity" may be appealed to. Observation of the world demonstrates that each species has found a niche in which it can operate with a measure of freedom.
- Whereas certain species (such as ants) operate best without individual liberty, human history demonstrates that individual human liberty leads to greater quantities of other goods (whether natural or cultural) being made available to the society as a whole. The sole proviso is that this liberty should not lead to anarchy, lack of social cohesion & lack of cooperation.
- Consequently, a second application of the principle of fecundity to free human individuals implies that the principle of individual human freedom can be naturally justified.
|Note last updated
||Reference for this Topic
||509 (Non-theistic Ethics - Freedom)
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