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If we define freedom in its purest form as

The right to do whatever you want.

then this is clearly a very psychopatic concept. The right to do whatever you want? So if you want to kill, you have that right? If you want to rape, you have that right? Certainly no sane person would support such a concept of freedom.

Clearly, there is a need for balancing this definition with some sense of moral responsibility. Thus, we may redefine freedom as

The right to do whatever you want, as long as you adhere to certain moral principles and responsibilities.

However, the notion of moral principles and responsibilities is well known to be subjective. I am not saying objective morality does not exist - it may very well exist. But humans are factually known to offer different candidates for such an objective morality, and therefore, from the perspective of humans at least, there is no one universally accepted moral codecs.

Therefore, this definition of freedom is entirely subjective, as it depends on whatever ethical framework you subscribe to.

Hence, I ask .... is the notion of freedom entirely subjective in its weaker form and entirely psychopatic in its strong, pure form? And if so, why does that word play such a large role in politics, philosophy, and all other kinds of social discourse, when seemingly it is entirely useless?

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    See positive and negative freedom. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 30 '18 at 12:55
  • See also Freedom as a Triadic Relation : "MacCallum defines the basic concept of freedom — the concept on which everyone agrees — as follows: a subject, or agent, is free from certain constraints, or preventing conditions, to do or become certain things. Freedom is therefore a triadic relation — that is, a relation between three things: an agent, certain preventing conditions, and certain doings or becomings of the agent." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 30 '18 at 12:56
  • What is Freud's take on this general issue? "Civilization and its Discontents". So this is one thinker's view. Secondary literature, e.g.: Title: Civilization and its discontents : an anthropology for the future? Author: Parisi, Thomas. Publisher:Twayne Publishers,Pub date:c1999.Pages:xx, 158 p. :ISBN:0805779345 – Gordon May 30 '18 at 17:00
  • It is exactly the subjectivity of morality that made societies develop legal systems (or more broadly systems of public norms, some written into laws, some unwritten but commonly observed and enforced by social pressure) that are "objective", or more precisely intersubjective. So legal freedom can be defined by the English constitutional maxim, "everything which is not forbidden is allowed" (under the law), one can do whatever one wants, as long as it is legal. – Conifold May 30 '18 at 17:11
  • "So if you want to kill, you have that right?" 1) Particularly I do not want to kill someone (unless there is a good reason). 2) That's why this concept of freedom is useless. I prefer the concept of self-freedom. – rus9384 May 30 '18 at 19:15
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Freedom is a language construct.

It is used for conviction. E.g. when some social groups say their freedom is violated, it means they are dissatisfied with current status and want something to be changed. Of course, in order to be more persuasive, they ought to use thick moral concepts. One of such concepts is freedom.

Therefore, what really freedom is varies on context pretty well. Sometimes it can mean your first definition, sometimes second. Sometimes it can even mean omnipotence and omniscience.

Now answering on your other questions, one by one.

is the notion of freedom entirely subjective in its weaker form and entirely psychopatic in its strong, pure form?

Yes and no. As you said, there are many ethical theories, therefore, morality is subjective. But your arguments about psychopathy is not sound. Well, I assume that, at least for me freedom is first definition. Then the question: why am I not killing or raping others? The answer: I simply don't want to. So, putting me and people who are like me together and accepting first definition of freedom won't result in incoherency.

I am not trying to say, of course, the murderers should not be punished. But I don't agree that definition of freedom is entirely psychopathic. It is, when it is used by a psychopath (and not always, as some psychopaths are not immoral), but not in other cases.

why does that word play such a large role in politics... and all other kinds of social discourse...

In politics and other kinds of social discourse it allows to change people attitudes.

... philosophy...

In philosophy there is a concept of moral objectivity, so, your reasoning does not work in philosophy, as there can be potentially objective definition of freedom. In the end you came here to discuss it, thus you already accepted it's not philosophically useless concept.

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There are many philosophic roots for freedom that extend into the social and political connections and become centered on the idea of autonomy.

Autonomy, psychology dictionary n. refers to the state of independence and self- determination in an individual, a group, or a society.

Freedom as a action, is distinguished by the ability to cause/create/respond/react, and not a lack of consequences that may follow those actions. While the examples you use limit the distinction to the subjective, psychopathic, moral and ethical notions of Freedom, as cited in your question, what Freedom signifies in an individual and society is much broader in definition.

  • Freedom is not an action. It's state or possibility to act[ not being punished]. – rus9384 May 31 '18 at 12:09
  • @rus9384 Freedom is only found in action. One of my favorite writer's stated, “You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.” Sheldon B. Kopp. Freedom is confined to being deliberate, thoughtful, and clear choices. All social statuses are connections based. If you buy a historic house, you agree to abide by the historical commissions standards. It is freely agreed to and understood. The connections are actions you align with to retain your place in that group. If you act outside of those agreements it is your 'actions' that will put you on the outside. – Norman Edward Jun 1 '18 at 19:53
  • Freedom is about actions, I agree. But it itself is not an action. Actions can't be free either. A subject can be free, be in the state of freedom. – rus9384 Jun 1 '18 at 20:06
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Freedom is not subjective at all : it is the contact point between individual and society.

In principle, modern democracies grant to each individual belonging to that society a full control over individual existence.

But that control needs a correct "operation" of society : government, law, etc.

In order to operate correctly, the governed society needs that individuals give away at part their autonomy.

This implies a certain amount of shared goals, objevtives, values, behaviour.

In other words, the "individual space" of pure freedom (a sort of social monad) must interact with the external world, and this means to limit it.

Thus, we have a tension that sometime, somewhere generates a crisis in the democratic societies: see the current Populist trend in Western world.

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