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Freedom of Human Will - Essay Example

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After all, without the notion of freedom as an attainable state another crucial phenomenon that exists in any society would virtually collapse. This phenomenon pertains to the notion of control that we may have over the ways we conduct our relationships in the wide sense of this word. The importance that human beings assign to the need of being in control of themselves, of those around them, and of external circumstances that they are immersed in, reflects one of the essential qualities of human nature as such - that of the striving of man to change the world we lives in, to adapt it to human needs, and to feel secure in it. All these aspirations presuppose the presence of at least some degree of control on the part of man, and with the development of human societies the phenomenon of control in its different social, economic, and political manifestations represented by schemes of distribution of power was gaining more and more elaborated and intricate forms. At the same time, along with macro events such as political and economic processes micro level of human relationships is not a less interesting realm of investigation aimed at finding out what the notion of control is, and whether we really have control over relationships in our life. Let us try to take a closer look at both macro and micro sociological scale of our life in order to examine what degree of control we really may have over the ways we conduct our relationships. Perhaps, such a discussion would also help us better understand the interrelation between the conception of control and the more fundamental notion of freedom of human will from which it stems.
Definitions of control
First of all, as we are speaking about control we have to define what we mean by it. In this respect, various definitions can be applied, ranging form the far-reaching characterisation of control as a power to determine, direct, and dominate, which in a positive way (similarly to the formulation of the concept of positive liberty that stands for 'freedom for'(Carter, 2003) suggests that an agent exercising control possesses creative and almost God-like qualities, to the much more humble description of control as an ability of a human agent to restrain for some purpose her or his emotions, desires, or certain impetuses (Miller, 1998, pp.9-12). This latter definition offers a negative account of control, which again can be compared with the concept of negative liberty formulated as 'freedom from' (Carter, 2003). In between these definitions a range of intermediary ones can be located that specify different application of control in social, economic, private, and other spheres of human activity. However, it seems that it is the consideration of the outlined extreme poles represented by the positive and negative definitions of cont ...Show more


The topic of freedom of human will, or the lack of such freedom, has traditionally been one of the most controversial and complicated themes in philosophies of various cultures and epochs. Indeed, if an answer could be given to this question it would have direct relevance for almost any sphere of our life, and might profoundly change many ways in which we perceive the world and ourselves…
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Freedom of Human Will
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