Liberty: Its Meaning and Scope

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Philosophy - 204 pages


The history of mankind is fraught with clashes in the quest for liberty--in the name of often contradictory ideals of freedom. Roshwald explores the diverse understandings of the term liberty and its spectrum of application, in order to achieve a coherent and consistent definition of the concept in respect to both the individual and society. The issue of liberty is examined not only from the traditional angle of political philosophy but also from a philosophical-anthropological perspective. After analyzing examples of specific approaches to freedom, and describing a theoretically and practically viable definition of liberty, the book suggests the possibility and ways of attaining the ideal.

The concept of liberty has been tarnished by propaganda, conflicting political claims, and uncritical usage. This book attempts to restore value to the meaning of liberty, arguing that it must be clearly understood and defined in the context of human experience in order to be universally enjoyed. Through a cogent analysis of contradictions in individual and societal perceptions of the over-used and abused principle, this interdisciplinary volume rescues liberty from its current role as being a mere slogan and presents the possibility for individual and collective freedoms to coexist. A selected Bibliography chronicles historical and contemporary treatises on liberty.

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Contents

Basic Questions and Assumptions
1
Individual Liberty
19
Collective Liberty
85
Liberties Conflicts and Their Resolution
109
Freedom and Civilization
131
Ways to Secure and Enhance Liberty
155
Conclusion
181
Notes
189
Bibliography
197
Index
201
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Page 57 - That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
Page 27 - When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it : it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow : that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
Page 21 - The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor anywhere in the world.
Page 71 - That we also may be like all the nations ; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
Page 167 - Men of Athens, I honour and love you ; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting any one whom I meet...
Page 76 - The only way to erect such a common power as may be able to defend them from the invasion of foreigners and the injuries of one another...
Page 58 - It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood.
Page 33 - ... is owing to a quality of the human mind, the source of everything respectable in man either as an intellectual or as a moral being, namely, that his errors are corrigible. He is capable of rectifying his mistakes by discussion and experience.
Page 31 - If every action which is good or evil in man at ripe years were to be under pittance, and prescription, and compulsion, what were virtue but a name, what praise could be then due to well-doing, what gramercy to be sober, just, or continent?
Page 141 - If I am mobilized in a war, this war is my war; it is in my image and I deserve it. I deserve it first because I could always get out of it by suicide or by desertion; these ultimate possibles are those which must always be present for us when there is a question of envisaging a situation. For lack of getting out of it, I have chosen it.

About the author (2000)

MORDECAI ROSHWALD taught for twenty-five years at the University of Minnesota and held visiting appointments at universities in Israel, England, Canada, and Taiwan./e He has published several books and articles in English and Hebrew. Two of his books and several of his essays have been translated into other languages.

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