4.1 Course summary
‘Freedom’ can mean many different things; the word can have a powerful emotive force. We're concerned here with political freedom. Isaiah Berlin distinguished between a concept of negative freedom and a concept of positive freedom. Negative freedom is freedom from interference, it is a matter of the opportunities that lie open to you. Positive freedom is the capability of doing what you really want to do. Historically, according to Berlin, the concept of positive freedom has been used to justify various kinds of oppression. Berlin also believes that there is no ‘final solution’, no simple way of reconciling the different goals that different people have. Berlin's view, that there are two concepts of freedom, has been attacked by Gerald MacCallum who thinks there is only one concept. Berlin has provided several counter-examples to MacCallum's point.