Concepts of Freedom and Liberty


These conceptscome from a positive sense of the word “liberty”, which isderived from the wish on an individual part to be his or her ownmaster. This comes with a price: freedom. The true method ofattainment of freedom, according to Berlin (1958), is by the use of acritical reason, which is to understand what could be necessary andwhat could be contingent. This is what one of the concepts ofliberty self-realization. Freedom is also self-mastery. It is theelimination of obstacles to a person’s will, whatever the kind ofobstacles they are, the resistance of nature, and finally theungoverned passions from the irrational institutions.

Towards feministtheory of freedom, Hirschmann (2003) observes that complexity is as aresult of amazing ambiguity, in part, to the word “freedom”.Feminism, according to her, which a lot of people might assumemaintains that women in all the four stories, highlights both thiskind of complexity and inadequacy. Among liberal theorists, masculinetheory of freedom highlights conceptions of liberty to have had theability to make contentious choices and act on them. The theoristsalso disagree on a number of issues on what constitutes “barrierto” and “restraint on” choice.

Berlin, based onthe “Two Concepts of Liberty”, discusses the issue so commercialsurrogacy a freedom for women, which should come as a choice. Heargues that going with the commercial surrogacy illegality of thepractice, as is always viewed to “criminalize practices orexchange, have pushed the practice into the underworld, which havelacked freedom, choice, and transparency” (Berlin, 1958). He airedhis views that “renting out” a woman’s womb may seemdehumanizing and moral repugnant practices. The author argues thatwoman may choose to be a commercial surrogate since she is desperateto get money.

Hirschmann(2003) frames commercial surrogacy from a feminist point of view. Shestresses on the increased freedom it brings, in that women should beallowed to have choices when it comes choosing reproduction. Sheargues that to prohibit that such contracts “fail to provide duerespect on the freedom and choices” (Hirschmann, 2003). The freedomshould be from a choice to offer one’s womb not for sell, butrather as a way of service. Hirschmann’s approach differs fromBerlin’s in that it refuses to give solid reasons for freedom forcommercial surrogacy.


Berlin, I. (1958). Two concepts of liberty: An inaugural lecturedelivered before the University of Oxford on 31 October 1958.Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hirschmann, N. J. (2003). The subject of liberty: Toward afeminist theory of freedom. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UniversityPress.