• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Liberalism puts too much emphasis on freedom at the expense of other values." Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Liberalism puts too much emphasis on freedom at the expense of other values." Discuss Liberalism, a word that contains the idea of liberty in its very name, is accordingly an ideology or group of ideologies which value human freedom, and seek to promote this value in a political context. Different forms of liberalism can have both different conceptions of freedom, and different views on how liberty is best promoted and preserved, and the political systems which should be employed to bring this about. Whether liberalism emphasises freedom at the expense of other values, then, is dependent upon what kind of liberalism one is criticising and what kind of freedom this liberalism advocates. It also depends on what "other" values one finds important and whether these are sacrificed in the interest of individual liberty. Classical Liberalism places the highest value upon the freedom of the individual, and sees the state as existing solely to guarantee man's "natural rights" of life, liberty and property. ...read more.

Middle

The "freedom to", positive freedoms, are not recognised by classical liberals, and thus individuals whose conditions are manifestly unfree would be considered free nonetheless. The conception of individual liberty as something more than securing from threat one's "natural rights" is something one finds in other forms of liberalism. The main value which underpins utilitarian liberalism is not freedom at all, but the value of "the greatest happiness". John Stuart Mill views the greatest happiness as being best achieved by allowing the individual the maximum liberty which can be maintained (and still fulfil the greatest happiness principle). This is because the development of the "higher pleasures" of the person - intellectual refinement etc - is dependent upon a degree of freedom of thought, expression and action, because humans are generally unhappy as slaves. Utilitarian liberalism does not entirely ignore other values then, since liberty is seen to an extent as a means to an end rather than an end in itself, but it does emphasise freedom to a large extent. ...read more.

Conclusion

In addition, every form of liberalism aims to maximise freedom in some sense, and there are still a diverse range of methods for obtaining it. This is because, as we have seen, there are different views on what actually constitutes freedom: whether it is merely the absence of a constraint by the state, or whether it involves informal social and economic relationships. Freedom could be constructed from a set of different values - equality, security and order, opportunity to develop oneself and share thoughts and experiences with others, participation in the government of oneself and one's society. Although liberalism as a whole tends to take the individual out of social contexts and above humanity on the social level, the value of freedom, and thus some kind of liberalism (most probably a social liberalism, rather than classical liberalism which from today's perspective could be seen as harsh) can be a coherent and just combination of various ideals for the construction of a just society which maintains the integrity and rights of the person. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. An embodied life in heaven is entirely possible. Discuss.

    Descartes was a dualist who accepted that anything that is not physical becomes part of the mind. Descartes' mind/matter distinction can be found in his "Meditations" and is a particular kind of substance dualism most accurately called Cartesian interactionist dualism.

  2. What are Mill’s four main arguments in defence of freedom of speech?

    Another weakness is that the argument is based on a single example which is itself based on anecdotal evidence. From a logical point of view it may not be that this hypocrisy was as widespread or pernicious as Mill, a humanist, portrayed it, and if this is the case it again removes much of the strength of Mill's point.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of ...

    - The elites must be the dominant force, not controlled by a force. Nietzsche's fundamental principle is "the will to power." Nietzsche refers to it as "an essence of life." For Nietzsche, the underlying driving force of change is will.

  2. We do not possess any genuine freedom to act ethically Discuss

    Many believe that by the age of seven, a child should know the difference between right and wrong, and so the first 7 years of a child's life are arguably the most important, as it is these 7 years which will help shape what kind of person they will become; and what morals they will live by.

  1. Our freedom to make ethical choices is an illusion Discuss

    The plan went wrong and the boys were caught. Darrow pleaded that the two young boys were the product of their upbringing, their ancestry and their wealthy environment-"he did not make himself. And yet he is to be compelled to pay".

  2. What are the limitations on our personal liberty? Are all of them justified?

    in a more popular act (to use his example, a person playing sport), or a situation where both parties are not consenting (parental chastisement, a situation in which written law is just as subjective). Also, an interesting fact is that although the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there

  1. Social Contract

    However am I really free to leave? It would not seem so. To leave, I would most likely have to leave - this would not only mean having a passport to go to a different country, which would have it's own set of rules but meaning that to get to

  2. Nietzsche and Mill on Conventional Morality

    to be told what we should think, now we buy newspapers, predominantly on a Sunday, to be told what we should think. And the power of the media should not be underestimated, as by selecting what they chose to publish, or on what page to publish it the newspapers can win or lose an election.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work