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Freedom Without Choice?

  • Gottfried Seebaß
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 118)

Abstract

The paper addresses a fundamental issue in clarifying the concept of autonomy, namely its relation to the concept of freedom, and argues for an analysis within a libertarian framework. Starting with a brief clarification of the concept of freedom in general, based mainly on the idea of being unhindered, this general idea is explored further by discussing two main dimensions: 1) freedom as openness to alternatives (possibility criterion) and 2) freedom in the sense of an available option being “natural” or “essential” to the agent in question (criterion of naturalness). In subsequently discussing the title-giving question directly, it is asked whether invoking only the second dimension while disregarding the first—generally done by compatibilists—can provide us with plausible cases of freedom without choice. In analyzing various relevant cases of personal freedom, covering freedom of action as well as freedom of will, the answer is then mostly negative. Apart from cases like theoretical rationality or language, all cases of personal freedom mattering most for personal autonomy rely on the first criterion as well, i.e. the agent has to be able to choose between different alternatives. Only then can we understand ourselves as free and autonomous persons.

Keywords

Intentional Action Autonomous Person Personal Choice Positive Instance Practical Rationality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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