Freedom by Tim Gray (auth.)

By Tim Gray (auth.)

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1311) draws attention to the logical extreme of this argument that total freedom of choice would be selfdefeating, in that if the individual had 'to choose everything for himself, the burden of choice would become so overwhelming that choice itself would lose its meaning'. He gives the example of language; if we had the option of choosing our own language, we would be at a loss as to how to express ourselves. The complex cultural and institutional framework in which we live and which inevitably restricts our choices, must therefore be seen not as an 'unfortunate limitation' on our liberty, but as 'essential to freedom itself.

159) argues that intentionality is irrelevant to the question of freedom: 'a man who has been accidentally locked in his room is as unfree to leave as is someone who has been intentionally locked inside with him'. l92). This is a difficult issue to resolve. Both arguments are persuasive, but each of them entails difficulties. We cannot accept Parent's argument without implying that all natural impediments are restrictions on freedom. We cannot accept Dryer's argument without implying that there are no circumstances in which unintentional impediments can reduce freedom.

In other words, we have perfectly appropriate words other than freedom to signify the idea of effective power, and it causes gratuitous confusion to employ the term 'freedom' when these other words can be used instead. 260-I) has pointed out that one cause of this confusion lies in the ambiguity of the word 'can', since the word 'can' may signify either freedom or ability. g. g. because aircraft have been invented, they operate between these two cities, and I can afford the fare). But these two senses of the word 'can' are separate and must not be mixed up.

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