The Experience of Freedom [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 49 (3):667-668 (1996)
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This book was originally published in French in 1988 under the title L'Experience de la Liberte. [[sic]] The present volume adds a translator's note, endnotes, and the foreward. The title of the book is mischievous, in that it leads the reader to expect to be shown some kind of experience of freedom as contrasted with other experiences, possibly of bondage, compulsion, or necessity. However, the author's thesis is not that we experience freedom, for instance, when we can act as we please or when we have the power of self-determination. What is "freedom?" It is easier to say what it is not. "Freedom to do, to act, or freedom in view of..., freedom as an essence to be realized or as a given nature, responsible freedom and responsibility toward freedom, freedom as right or power,... free will, recognition of common law, individual or collective freedom, civil, economic, political, social, cultural freedoms, the assumption of necessity, anarchy, libertine or libertarian freedom, liberality, freedom of movements, freedom of spirit, the free end of a rope or chain--none of these should escape our attention, yet none of these exactly matches what is at stake here under the name of 'freedom'".



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