The Concept of Freedom an Article by Joel Feinberg Essay

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While many words throughout the English language can paint a vivid image or idea, the word freedom is perhaps one of the most ambiguous. “It is defined as the following: the fact of not being controlled by subject or fate; the power of self-determination attributed to will” (“Freedom”). Its definition cannot be simplified into one dimension, and its interpretation is completely contextual. The reason that the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary was given prior, was due to its broadness; making it a more well-suited definition to describe the concept of freedom. In analyzing freedom, similar words will be discussed, freedom’s characteristics described, and examples given, in order to illustrate the word and some of its many uses.…show more content…
A prisoner of war may feel ecstatic when the war is over and he can finally go back home to his family; free from his oppressors. A conservative may feel outraged by the idea of abortion being legalized, but those supporting it may feel relief for women; knowing they are now free to act with their own bodies accordingly. Freedom evokes different emotions in different instances, and most words cannot achieve that to the same extent that freedom can. Another attribute associated with freedom, as illustrated before, is its versatility. Freedom can not only evoke many emotions, but can have multiple meanings. It can be representative of its synonyms is one sense and its antonyms in another. In the abortion example, the legalization of abortion could be liberating to those who support it, and restrictive to those who believe that it is immoral, unholy, destructive to society, et cetera.
In Joel Feinberg’s article, The Concept of Freedom, he discusses how the word free, without any context, does not shed any light on what makes something free. According to Feinberg, “most general ascriptions of freedom are best understood as elliptical, or abbreviate for some longer expression…we may have to add specifications of what someone is free from, or is free to do, or more precisely who it is whose freedom is at issue”(10). Without specifics, people will remain uncertain of what sort of

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