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Sustainable Freedom

chapter
posted on 2023-05-22, 20:24 authored by Graham WoodGraham Wood
Following John Stuart Mill, this chapter assumes that freedom is the highest moral value because it gives an individual human the greatest chance of achieving happiness. The chapter follows Isaiah Berlin in distinguishing between positive and negative freedom and Amartya Sen in understanding development as facilitating freedom. Balanced against freedom is the acknowledgement that human action has impacted negatively on the planet such that the ‘planetary boundaries’ are being exceeded. A balance is sought between the value of freedom as understood by Mill, Berlin and Sen, and the need to avoid exceeding planetary boundaries. Mill’s Harm Principle is applied across the set of present and future generations of humans (with an acknowledgement of the fact that the principle could be applied across the set of all present and future generations of sentient organisms). It is applied with specific reference to planetary boundaries, such that power can rightfully be exercised over a member of the human community against their will to prevent planetary boundaries being exceeded. This is justified because exceeding the planetary boundaries will limit the freedom of individuals in future generations. The implications and possible objections to this application of the Harm Principle are explored.

History

Publication title

New Interdisciplinary Perspectives on and Beyond Autonomy

Editors

C Watkin and O Davis

Pagination

135-149

ISBN

9781032364070

Department/School

School of Humanities

Publisher

Routledge

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Extent

12

Rights statement

Copyright 2023 Routledge

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Environmental ethics; Sustainability indicators; Political systems

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