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Word Count: 1,248
In his essay Two Concepts of LibertyE1958 Sir Isaiah Berlin made considerable intellectual ground on the philosophical definition of Freedom notably it was here that the archaic distinctions between PositiveEand NegativeEfreedom were reexamined and given a fresh clear outlook The ideas offered in his essay on the nature of these two freedomsEprovided philosophers with such intellectual ammunition that they continue to be debated over even to this present day In trying to demarcate the separate senses of the two types of liberty Berlin correctly noted that negative liberty is freedom fromE or the absence of obstacles to the individuals free choice positive liberty is freedom toE or the power of which the individual may act according to this free choice From here it may seem that the differences between positive and negative freedoms are just semantic they basically are different sides of the same coin This is true insofar that they are both still liberty in a general sense Liberty in a very general broad definition is the individuals capacity for free choice it is his ability to exercise free will This idea of basic liberty is central to both PositiveEand NegativeEsenses of the concept they begin with this basic premise of what freedom entails but then become separate as they develop as concepts in their own right The source of this divide is in what both senses of liberty constitutes as free choiceEand free willE According to Berlin positive liberty is freedom of the self this notion of positivityEis derived from the individuals desire for his choices and decisions to depend on no other than himself to be his own master This simple definition takes a complex turn when Berlin introduces rationality or the rational self to the equation The most prominent feature of man is his faculty of intellect nevertheless he is a creature of nature and has impulses and desires on an instinctual level This instinctual desire is irrational impulse
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