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Abigail Lewsader

on 17 September 2018

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Transcript of Freedom

Why is freedom important to the humanities?
Freedom to think & listen to thoughts of others
Freedom to examine options & decide wisest action

Citizens free to think, question, & speak out
Free citizens = 5%
Slaves and females = 95%
Different meanings
for Freedom:
Believed they had the right to enslave the conquered in the name of civilization
Freedom in Religion?
How are we free?
Can we do what we please - on any level?
Freedom of will = the ability to choose between alternatives
Freedom of will does not exist
Always ways to prove existence of free will
Emerged from the 18th century
All choice limited by prior condition
Triggered by Science
Every effect has a cause
(1712 - 1778)
Ideal Age of Innocence
No laws needed
Laws / government not necessary when everyone is happy.
Everyone lives in harmony.
First Abuser:
Man with a stick
State of Nature
Humankind is decent, tame, moral, and benevolent
Man with a stick = founder of society
The first abuser, first to label property
The man with the stick and his followers became a threat to the rights of others
According to Rousseau
People become hateful, aggressive and violent - when held in check, threatened with punishment for disobedient acts
People's Temple
November 18, 1978
900 members lead by Jim Jones were ordered to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid
Institutional Determinism
Only way to guarantee protection of human rights

Not through unlimited freedom

Through each citizen's willingness to hand over some rights to institutions dedicated to the maintenance of order within society
Economic Determinism
Quest for
controls thinking and dictates actions
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
economic determinism
would lead to a society divided into two classes:
1. The Affluent Bourgeoisie
(Controls the means of production)
2. The Proletariat

Believed violence would sometimes prove to be the only way
to bring about the worker's paradise.
A social system based on the idea of a classless society,
The Birth of the Soviet Union
February 1917, execution of Russian Czar & his family
October 1917, Bolshevik Revolution
Afterward, most private property would be state-owned (public) and the private sector nearly abolished.
The classless society never really materialized
Economics often dominate our lives
B.F. Skinner (1904-1991)
, a school of though that says:
Behavior is determined by a series of
rewards and punishments
that begins as soon as we are born
According to Skinner, freedom is the effort to escape from the unpleasant consequences of certain actions.
Freedom not Possible?
There are an estimated 3 trillion cells in a human body. Within each cell there are two genomes (one from each parent), which contains sets of genetic instructions.
Will science be able to produce a "super" child?
Biology + Social Science
Assumes absence of free will and studies human behavior in terms of genetic investment.
In a nutshell, everything we do pertains to our genetic strain.
Marriage and the "Genetic Attitude"
Making a genetic investment in your partner.
How we feel about genetic propagation determines how we conduct intimate relationships.
All Decisions
All decisions not just romantic ones - political, religious, educational, financial - relate in one way or another to genetics.
Genes determine who we are, and what stand for, and apparently we cannot decide to walk a different path.
Free will?
Do we have it?
Is there such a thing as free will?
For Skinner, free will cannot be detected, cannot be felt. We cannot say "I have free will" with reference to a specific sensation or emotion.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
German philosopher who believed will existed.
Asked - "What is the will for?"
Freedom is possible in the
denial of will
Are we in control of our thoughts?
Regret and Relief
Sign of Free Will?


the world as random collection of chance happenings
According to James, people were indecisive and unpredictable, exactly the opposite of machines.
If everything were predetermined (no free will), then looking back and realizing missed chances would not exist.
Hindsight is proof that a genuine alternatives always exist.
Psychoanalysis and Free Will
Psychoanalysis invented by
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Whatever we think or do is impelled by a previous cause which is not always of our own choosing. By examining a patient's dreams it shows the thought process of free association of ideas. It seeks to free people from acting without the knowledge of why they do what they do.
Goal of psychoanalysis:
Free people from acting without the knowledge of why they do what they do.
Aims to lead people to a rational state of mind in which free choice is possible.
Ego = Apollonian Conscious Mind "Will"
Id = Dionysian Self - sexual & aggressive desires that society has taught us to suppress
Superego = Voice in our heads that tells us what we may or many not do
Dating back to the Mid 19th Century Existentialism holds:
People free to be anything they want
Freedom comes with a price
Free to create its own essence / nature
Two major Types of Existentialism
Dionysian Experience
Truth in Religion comes from irresistible feeling, not analytical thought
Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Leap of Faith:
Reach a point of absolute despair & felt ready to turn to God
Leap over counter arguments and scientific evidence
We are not born with an essence - have to create one - all alone with the use of reason
Price of Freedom:
Doomed to Freedom - True freedom carries a price
ean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Opposed the acceptance of God as a matter of psychological necessity.
No such thing as human nature
Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
Her route to existentialism was the
feminist rejection of male rules and the essences
males imposed on females.
Freedom with Limitations?
Chogyam Trungpa
Surrendering to reality and by accepting things as they are
Liberating oneself from pain
Wealth and pleasure only add to pain
In order to be free in the Buddhist sense of the word, one must first wake up to the reality of pain and suffering.
So now what is your take on Freedom?
William James (1842-1910)
Norwegian Prisons vs. American Prisons
Conditioning vs. Punishing
United States

Prisoners per capita = 715 per 100,000
Murder = 5.6
Fraud = 371,800
Serious assaults = 281.6
Car thefts per 1000 = 4.33
Adults prosecuted per 1000 = 49.38

Prisoners per capita = 64 per 100,000 people
Murder = 0.8
Fraud = 12,295
Serious assaults = 69.1
Car thefts per 1000 = 5.14
Adults prosecuted per 1000 = 2.65
Full transcript