The Concept of Freedom

The Concept of Freedom


Institution of Affiliation




The Concept of Freedom

In life’s history, Freedom has been so far the greatest cultural asset in the past. Freedom has slowed down with modernization, and citizens in various nations are fighting hard to restore it. Freedom is mainly defined as a person’s potential ability to freely choose an alternative, as an opportunity to think and act following ideas and desires, and not because of internal or external coercion, but because it gives the person the opportunity to be himself and exercise his rights.

Freedom of individuals is expressed through the media by leaders who practice politics either in their speeches or on duty, countries constitution, and church leaders. However, Freedom may bear or lack its meaning through the way different people view it. Therefore, philosophers have different views about Freedom with elaborate examples to make their opinions stand. Freedom is the only way to realize human potential, and it’s important to uphold it universally. I will explain Freedom’s concepts in Aristotle, Hospers, Skinner and Kant and identify the most convincing concept in my research.


Aristotle lacks a clear definition of Freedom in politics or Nicomachean Ethics. His idea was on self developments where he majored on three types of men, including the people who require only primitive resources and growth that’s the plant people. People-animals were described as influenced by what they felt and, finally, people-reasonable whose riddance was based on reasoning and decision making (Edelstein, 1944).

Theories based on Aristotle’s argument have been put into two categories; Effective agency and moral responsibility. The effective agency argues that humans tend to act according to their wishes with the view that whatever they anticipate in future might not be necessary (Eishtain, 2003). However, Aristotle’s refutes the argument by stating that the future is necessary, making human actions and deliberations futile.

Moral responsibility is the ability to be justifiably subject to praise and reward or blame and punishment based on our acts. He argues that human beings are responsible for their voluntary actions, which our desires and character traits might influence. Aristotle’s argument states that we are totally in control of our actions, an opposing idea to the causal determinism and Stoics belief that every action is according to the Act of God in line with his providence plans.


John Hospers’ argument heavily lies on free will, which is almost closely attached to individuals’ voluntary actions. Hospers argues that the term voluntary is faced with ambiguity and asks for more clarity to stop its confusion for free will. He argues that some free will are free, and some are contrary to what most individuals think.

Moore, a scholar, indicates that people are free to carry on with tasks of their own will if they want to, and whatever the people can do is the definition of free will. Hospers bring out the psychological ID, ego, and superego as factors related to free will, emphasizing that unconsciousness is a factor in determining impulses and eventually free will. He adds to the distortion of Freedom in Moore’s criterion, expressing that a person is free concerning a given action if he can make it if he chooses to do it.

Hospers concludes that an act is free if it’s not compelled or coerced, which is nearly impossible for such occurrences to happen because individuals are mostly caught up in the stream of determinism with the unconscious forces driving them into wanting or defying the action in question.


Skinners contribution to Freedom came in 1971 by writing a book Beyond Freedom and dignity (Skinner, 1971). In the book, Skinner denied intentions, purposes, aims, goals and other internal psychological states. In his work, he touched on various themes and questioned existing perceptions about man’s Freedom.

He questioned the control exercised by autonomous man and demonstrated the control exercised by the environment., a science of behaviour that seemed to question dignity or worth (Boguslaw & Skinner, 1972). He argued that an individual should be responsible for his behaviour by receiving punishment or criticism in wrongdoing and receiving rewards and credits for the achievements. Still, both blame and credit are shifted towards the environments in the modern world.

Skimmer, in his book, elaborated that man’s Freedom is not a result of free will but behavioural processes that contribute to dodging of aversive environment features. He further mentions that literature has been a force to define Freedom as a state of mind and feelings without considering the social environment that humans are exposed. In his concept, the information philosopher shifts his analysis of Freedom from autonomous man to the environment (Skinner & Taylor, 1973).


Kant started his work early by looking out for ways to overcome the limitation of vies of Freedom as independence from one thinking to other people’s inclinations. He formulated the positive conception of Freedom as the capacity for choice, asserting Freedom’s unconditional value to set one owns ends (Westphal, 2017). In his philosophy, Kant paid attention to autonomy and morality, stating that morality and right are intrinsically related. He also criticized moral utilitarianism as related to servility and political paternalism, leading to unfreedom.

The philosophers heavily contributed to Freedom’s understanding and nature depending on what their objectives were geared to achieve. Immanuel Kant remains the most convincing philosopher of Freedom since he believed in limited government and maximum Freedom in a based moral society, basing his arguments on the goodwill and moral law, the categorical imperative, rights and Freedom and Kantian liberalism elements (Halldenius, 2011).


Boguslaw, R., & Skinner, B. F. (1972). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Contemporary Sociology, 1(1), 23.

Edelstein, L. (1944). Aristotle and the Concept of Evolution. The Classical Weekly, 37(13), 148.

Eishtain, J. B. (2003). Aristotle and Augustine on Freedom. International Studies in Philosophy, 35(4), 193–194.

Halldenius, L. (2011). Kant on Freedom and Obligation Under Law. Constellations, 18(2), 170–189.

Hospers, J. (1955). XIV.—The Concept of Artistic Expression. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 55(1), 313–344.

Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond Freedom and dignity. Knopf.

Skinner, B. F., & Taylor, F. K. (1973). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. By B. F. Skinner. London: Jonathan Gape. 1972. Pp. 225. Price $2.25. British Journal of Psychiatry, 122(566), 99–100.

Westphal, K. R. (2017). How Kant Justifies Freedom of Agency (without Transcendental Idealism). European Journal of Philosophy, 25(4), 1695–1717.

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