Introduction to Political Theory

(Marvins-Underground-K-12) #1
to address the complexities of freedom we have discussed further liberty-limiting
principles: harm to self, offensiveness, harmless wrongdoing. It is for the reader to
assess the validity of these different principles, but it is clear that a discussion of
freedom must at least address the charge that the harm principle is inadequate as
an explanation of the limits of freedom. Freedom is certainly regarded as a positive
word and this may reflect an underlying belief not just of political theorists, but
also ordinary people, that although freedom must on occasion be limited we assume
freedom to be a good thing – there is a ‘presumption in favour of freedom’.


  1. If the protection of a person’s interests is so important should the state permit
    a person to harm him- or herself?

  2. If the protection of a person’s interests is so important should the state permit
    a person to consent to be harmed by somebody else?

  3. Should the fact that someone finds an expression or action offensive be a reason
    for banning that expression or action?

  4. Are some activities ‘intrinsically bad’ and therefore can they justifiably be banned?


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52 Part 1 Classical ideas

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