Defending Louis Groarke’s Thought On Freedom Essay Samples
The aim of this paper is to defend a thesis on Louis Groarke’s philosophical thought on freedom. Louis observes that people express personal freedom does not happen to an individual that is unable to attain self satisfaction. He argues that “freedom begins, not with any individual left to their own devices, not with someone who experiences unqualified self-satisfaction; freedom come begins with a flourishing, moral human being. This is the individual who, in the fullest, the best, the most primary sense free. The first principle of freedom is human flourishing. Negative accounts of freedom are derivative. Non-interference facilitates freedom insofar as it promotes human flourishing; it means to human achievement. Bare non-interference, however, is not freedom” (Groarke 259). This paper supports this claim. It argues that human freedom is contingent upon man’s ability to accomplish and fulfill certain fundamental goals. Freedom comes when human beings are able to desire and pursue ultimate human goods.
Exercising full measure of freedom means that an individual is least restrained on the choices he makes. Groarke argues that people can only be free if they are both moral and rational. He opines that morality and rationalism go hand in hand. He asserts that people who make efforts to protest oppression society demonstrate freedom (Groarke 261). Irrationality and the inability to reason bring into the mind something that hinders freedom. Objects that are immoral and irrational have lost touch with their own nature. Immorality encourages acts and behaviors that are repellant to any quest for morality. When people pays regard to irrational will, they lose the ultimate power to exercise morality that can guarantee freedom. Irrationality and morality are enemies of the personal identity. They erode the inner values of people and render them subjects of neurosis.
It is ethically sound to be moral since being moral implies the practice of rationality inspires an individual to act in the best interest of self. Such individuals are driven to attain the highest limit of their needs (McDunnell 3). Their minds are configured to attain personal needs in ways that do not hinder other people from attaining their wants and needs. Moral people exhibit good ethical principles and are least bothered by their thoughts and actions. Rationalism and morality inculcates positive behaviors that are admirable in the society. An individual that exhibits both elements can to fulfill his needs. The ability of such an individual to satisfy his wants and needs results into freedom. Groarke attempts argues that in the process seeking self-satisfaction, less constrains must be in an individual’s pursuit of freedom. People that enjoy relative freedom have higher capabilities and capacities to meet their wants. On the other hand, people that do not exhibit freedom appear deprived and less empowered. The groups of people exist in the society.
Full measure of freedom comes with greater personal achievement and success. People with such freedom seem to command much respect in the society. “A flourishing, fully-functioning moral human being has higher possibilities of attaining freedom” (Groarke 262). Such individuals are experience non-interference. While non-interference facilitates freedom, it serves to promote human flourishing. In this regard, the ability of an individual to experience freedom is when he doesn’t encounter interference. Interference can be in the form of obstacles that may frustrate, hinder or obstructs a person’s thirst for freedom. The ability of an object to obstruct or hinder a person’s access to freedom limits his ability to attain freedom. Groarke opines that while non-interference promotes and human flourishing and facilitates freedom, bare non-interference is not freedom (262). This philosophical thought is true because a man doesn’t merely become free due to the absence of limitations his pursuit of freedom. True freedom comes when an individual is able to navigate and challenge the threats that may lie on his path to seeking freedom.
In attempting to understand the value of freedom, McDonnell observed that human freedom can be understood vis-à-vis the divine being. In such a case, human freedom is less than genuine freedom (4). In Christian terms, the ability of one to experience freedom springs from his ability to exercise good upon himself and upon others. Anything that falls short of this good fails to qualify for freedom. Freedom and good are expressed in love of both God and neighbor. McDonnell adds that such good is essential to human flourishing. While reinforcing this claim, Groarke posits that human flourishing comes from the divine being (3). Thus, the fundamental goal of Christian humanism is to reconcile Christian values with human values. Human flourishing is the ability of humans to recognize and uphold the fundamental values that define morality. A person that enjoys total freedom is the individual that is gracious, obedient and subscribes to the will of God.
Christianity attached the ultimate test of morality on the ability of the individual to subscribe to the will of God. In this regard, the will of God is the ultimate bar upon which every human soul should strive to obey. Christian values and morality are interwoven in such a way that an individual that exercises morality upholds the Christian values. Groarke adds that for individuals to uphold and observe these values, they must be in possession of the some threshold of morality (267). Without an aspect of morality, a personal may not observe these values. This implies that such an individual is likely to miss freedom. Rational people have the tendency to prefer outcomes that are likely to generate happiness or pleasure. Such people tend to maximize the amount of happiness or pleasure that an event is likely to create. If events X and Y are such that X is likely to produce high utility and Y is likely to produce less utility, rational individuals would opt for the event with the highest utility (McDonnell 6). There are instances in which morality becomes an irrational venture. For example, if participating in an event B yields a higher amount of utility than not participating in it; a person is likely to participate in it. In this case, the person is said to have relied on his rationality to participate in the event. Suppose the event is likely to yield and negative outcome such as murder, morality would indicate that the individual should not participate in the act. Morality in such situation is said to be an irrational venture.
Every member of the society is faced by two choices. An individual can choose to be either moral or immoral. A person can choose to be moral so long as other people in his immediate setting are moral. On the other hand, a person can be immoral so long as other people in his setting are immoral. In such cases, a person’s freedom is said to be guaranteed for the circumstance in which he acts morally (Goarke 270). This freedom is denied when the person said to be immoral. Immorality hinders the soundness of human judgment. It clouds the vision and focus of an individual and inhibits the inner powers to explore ways that can yield goodness. When an individual lives in manner that may not promote the freedom and comfort of others, the individual is said to be hindering the freedom of others. To be free doesn’t merely manifest in human actions but also in human acts. To this end, Groarke perceives freedom as the act of promoting oneness without crossing the boundaries into limiting other people from accessing their freedom (5). Moreover, true freedom is sought when an individual is unable to participate in immoral acts.
Groarke argues that a combination of morality and rationality do not only yield persona freedom but also instills good ethical principles in people (7). Ethics in this context refers to behaviors that promote positivism. Ethics and morality makes human beings to flourish. Good morals mean good ethics. In this regard, an individual that is said to be of good morals pays regard to aspects of ethics. The human soul in pursuit of freedom is the individual that exhibits ethical values in the content of his character. Nothing yields self-satisfaction than a peaceful mind that is not guilty of wrongful doing.
Liberals hold that humans are in a state of freedom to order their actions as they will without any interference or obstruction to this will by other man. People at liberty exercise some degree of freedom. This freedom encompasses the ability to explore one’s limits without restriction or prohibition. Groarke argues that freedom is basic and can be limited by people who use coercive methods to limit the liberty of citizens (Groarke 6). Human freedom is said to be accomplished if there exist some degree of equality. An individual that seeks some degree of freedom does so in a bid to attain equality in the society. Equality entails the ability to meet some fundamental needs and goals. If one is not able to meet these needs, he is said to be deprived of freedom. Freedom is realized when no man or body of men interferes with the activities of other men. Human freedom, therefore, is the amount of latitude by which an individual can carry out his activity without being obstructed by others. However, if a man is obstructed from doing what he ought to do, he is to that degree of obstruction not free.
Groarke’s conceptualization of freedom reflects a deeper philosophical thought. True freedom comes not when individuals are left to their own devices or acquire unqualified self-satisfaction. Instead, the full measure of human freedom is contingent man’s ability to pursue the highest amount of achievement when without being obstructed. For such achievement to be realized, morality and rationality are elements that define such pursuit or attainment of freedom. This is because morality is a way of expressing one’s freedom. Immorality, on the other hand, brings into the human mind obstructions that hinder his pursuit of freedom. Since moral humans embody a sense of freedom, it is indubitable that freedom inculcates good ethics.
Groarke, Louis. "What is freedom? Why Christianity and theoretical liberalism cannot be reconciled." The Heythrop Journal 47.2 (2006): 257-274.
Groarke, Louis. The Good Rebel: Understanding Freedom and Morality. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002.
McDonnell, Eunan. The Concept of Freedom in the Writings of St. Francis de Sales. Peter Lang, 2009. Retrieved from https://elearning.villanova.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-971492-dt-content-rid-2615618_1/xid-2615618_1