Testing freedom: ontological considerations

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Abstract

Who or what can be free, or not free? The question may seem mind-boggling on close inspection. To the extent that meaning is defined through reference, or acts of naming, different meanings of freedom deployed in daily life derive their significance from specific and contingent instructions that allow the particularities of freedom to be constituted. So we must begin by exposing ourselves to what Malinowski called the ‘universe of semantic chaos’ in which ‘freedom’ appears if we are to hope to approach freedom itself (1947). Further, this article argues that in order to address the complexities of freedom to their limits, an exploration not only of semantics (considerations of meaning) but also of its relation to ontology (considerations of existence) cannot be neglected.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)11-27
Journaletnofoor
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017

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