What Are Freedoms For? / Edition 1

What Are Freedoms For? / Edition 1

by John H. Garvey
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674004116

ISBN-13: 9780674004115

Pub. Date: 10/16/2000

Publisher: Harvard

We generally suppose that it is our right to freedom which allows us to make the choices that shape our lives. The right to have an abortion is called "freedom of choice" because, it is said, a woman should be free to choose between giving birth and not doing so. Freedom of speech protects us whether we want to salute the flag or burn it. There is a correlative

Overview

We generally suppose that it is our right to freedom which allows us to make the choices that shape our lives. The right to have an abortion is called "freedom of choice" because, it is said, a woman should be free to choose between giving birth and not doing so. Freedom of speech protects us whether we want to salute the flag or burn it. There is a correlative principle: one choice is as good as another. Freedom is not a right that makes moral judgments. It lets us do what we want.

John Garvey disputes both propositions. We should understand freedom, he maintains, as a right to act, not a right to choose; and furthermore, we should view freedom as a right to engage in actions that are good and valuable. This may seem obvious, but it inverts a central principle of liberalism--the idea that the right is prior to the good. Thus friendship is a good thing; and one reason the Constitution protects freedom of association is that it gives us the space to form friendships.

This book casts doubt on the idea that freedoms are bilateral rights that allow us to make contradictory choices: to speak or remain silent, to believe in God or to disbelieve, to abort or to give birth to a child. Garvey argues that the goodness of childbearing does not entail the goodness of abortion; and if freedom follows from the good, then freedom to do the first does not entail the freedom to do the second. Each action must have its own justification. Garvey holds that if the law is to protect freedoms, it is permissible--indeed it is necessary--to make judgments about the goodness and badness of actions.

The author's keen insights into important rights issues, communicated with verve and a variety of both real and hypothetical cases, will be of interest to all who care about the meaning of freedoms.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674004115
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/16/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
322
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction1
I.Actions3
1.Push-Pin or Poetry5
2.Men Only20
3.God Is Good42
4.Coke Is It!58
II.Actors79
5.Individuals81
6.Children97
7.Representatives112
8.Groups123
9.Churches139
III.Constraints155
10.Stargazing Again157
11.Taxes174
12.Benefits194
13.Intentions207
IV.The State219
14.The Boss221
15.The Snake240
Notes263
Acknowledgments305
Index307

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