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Encyclopedia > Individual freedom
Statue of Liberty - Liberty is one meaning of "freedom".

Freedom may mean any of the following:

In this article it refers to the state of being free, unrestricted, unconfined, or unfettered.


In Philosophy and History

The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau asserted that the condition of freedom was inherent to humanity, an inevitable facet of the possession of a soul and sapience, with the implication that all social interactions subsequent to birth imply a loss of freedom, voluntary or involuntary.

See Liberty for the main article on freedom in philosophy and history.


  • Economic freedom is sometimes equated with economic power. The term as used by economists usually means the degree to which economic actors are unfettered by governmental restrictions, as in the Index of Economic Freedom. Some economists, such as those responsible for the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation Index, frame the issue of economic freedom as "the degree to which the public sector interferes with the private sector," and argue that the less a government acts to interfere with the economic freedoms of businesses and individuals, the healthier the economy will tend to be. Other schools of economic thought argue that the public sector need not always be seen as an unwanted intruder on the economy, that government action should not be seen as necessarily freedom-infringing. (See also [1] (http://cf.heritage.org/index/pastScores.cfm))
  • Freedom of expression (or speech) is similar to freedom of information, but refers to a general lack of such restrictions (on the creation, use, modification and dissemination of ideas) in a society by the government or those that hold power in that society.
  • For the shorter term, being free also means having holidays, weekend, finished work for the day, having a break.
  • Political philosopher Gerald MacCallum designed the following concept of freedom, allowing for its 'fleshing out' into many different conceptions: "X is free/not free from Y to do/not do/become/not become Z."

Quotes about freedom

  • The Eagles : "Freedom? Oh, freedom, that's just some people talking, you're in chains while you walk through this life on your own."
  • "Eλευθερος γ θανατος" (Freedom or Death!)
    Cretan War cry.

See also

  • Liberty
  • Freedom (political)
  • Liberty (disambiguation)

External links

  • Democracy's Century (http://freedomhouse.org/reports/century.html)
  • Center for the study of democracy  (http://www.democ.uci.edu/democ/)
  • The Global Social Change Research Project (http://gsociology.icaap.org/) has links to data and research about freedom



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