chapter  3
39 Pages

Freedom of the individual

WithHans Blokland

E. A. Langerak begins his essay ‘Freedom: idea and ideal’ with the significant remark: ‘freedom seems easier to die for than to define’. Certainly, from the viewpoint of the positive conception of freedom, where the individual in general is looked at more in terms of his relation to the community, it is theoretically disputable to deal with the positive freedom of the individual, free to some extent of the relation. In order to be rid of the entire puzzle, Ronald Dworkin even came up with the suggestion of letting the concepts of freedom and autonomy ‘go up in smoke’. An obvious way to begin a discussion of criticism of Isaiah Berlin is with a few words on the relationship between views of man and conceptions of freedom. A good starting-point for this is the ‘meta-theory’ on conceptions of freedom developed by the American philosopher Frithjof Bergmann in his book On Being Free.