The Quality of Freedom by Matthew H. Kramer

By Matthew H. Kramer

In his provocative new ebook, Matthew Kramer deals a scientific conception of freedom that demanding situations lots of the different significant modern remedies of the subject.

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Sample text

In the passage on slaves and servants from which Skinner quotes here, Hobbes differentiated between slaves (whose status derives ultimately from their having been captured in war) and voluntary servants (whose status derives solely from their having agreed to work for remuneration or other benefits). 16 In that earlier discussion of servants and slaves, he had distinguished between two types of people who are captured in combat: those who have agreed to serve their captors in return for their lives and a modicum of liberty, and those who have not agreed to anything.

2. A second caveat pertains to the occurrence of non-volitional movements of people's bodies. If we are to take cognizance of such movements, must we carve out exceptions to the thesis for which this subsection has argued? In addressing this question, let us first consider the situations in which people's non-volitional movements are due to the wielding of their bodies as instruments or objects or playthings by other people. Suppose that John grabs Herbert's arm and slaps Ronald's face with it.

Movements of his body that might appear to be voluntary exertions are in fact attributable to the conduct of other people rather than to any authentic conduct of his own. Hence, given that he is not carrying out any actions—given that his bodily movements are events brought about by other people through the use of him as a vehicle—his inability to keep himself from pursuing the designs of his masters does not mean that he is unfree to abstain from undertaking certain actions. So would run one potential line of thought on this matter.

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