Liberty, opportunity and obligation

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Binstock, Christopher
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the relationship between individual liberty and social obligation. Both offer significant potential for moral gain, but they initially appear to be mutually exclusive. I propose that, by reconceptualizing individual liberty and social obligation with a focus on their moral value, the two can demonstrably co-exist. An irresolvable conflict only surfaces when 'absolute' liberty is evaluated, a form of liberty I assert is not morally viable, and that, when morally desirable forms of liberty and obligation used in the evaluation, they can be shown to be not only compatible but interdependent. I argue that when social obligations are considered primarily as means of attaining moral priority goals, it can be shown that liberty is essential, rather than contradictory, to their existence and the benefits they provide. There exists a limited scope of morally viable social obligations, and ' these' obligations are compatible with individual liberty.

Individual liberty, Social obligation, Moral gain, Relationship, Mutually exclusive