Freedom and Constraint

  • Danny Frederick
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Classical Liberalism book series (PASTCL)


I explain how self-interest can conflict with moral demands. A moral theory contains a set of rules but there are myriad rival moral theories. I criticise and reject rule consequentialism because fallibility and indeterminism (including free will) mean that consequences cannot be known in advance. I propose instead to evaluate moral theories according to how well the enforcement of their rules would secure the conditions for freedom to experiment with kinds of life. I argue that some restrictions on freedom are needed for the sake of freedom; but different restrictions are appropriate for different kinds of persons. Restrictions of persons’ freedom for the sake of animals that are not persons are also considered. A technical note discusses the derivation of ‘ought’ from ‘is.’ I spell out a person’s right to direct his own life using Wesley Hohfeld’s scheme of rights and obligations. I show how that right gives persons private property in their own bodies and how the freedom of persons depends on the existence of private property in resources external to their bodies. I discuss the difficulties of persons having obligations to themselves. I end by criticising James and Stuart Rachels’ denial of moral disagreement.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danny Frederick
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarYeovilUK

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