freedom, positive/negative

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Thomas Hobbes (1588—1679) philosopher

G. W. F. Hegel (1770—1831) German philosopher



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Narrowly, or negatively, freedom is thought of as the absence of constraint: ‘Freedom’, said Hobbes, ‘is the silence of the law.’ Positively, freedom is a condition of liberation from social and cultural forces that are perceived as impeding full self-realization. To become free is therefore a challenge that is only met by personal transformation, in Romantic and individualistic thought, or by social transformation, for instance in Hegel.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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