David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Freedom is generated in at least two distinct ways: as the ability to avoid perceived dangers and pursue perceived goods, and even to pursue complicated plans in those directions, freedom evolves. But as a social and political matter, freedom seems more subject to human will. The best social institutions -- the kind that serve to encourage or constrain freedom of choice -- also appear to be evolutionary products in some sense. Can there be too much freedom? Of course there can. No constraint at all would guarantee personal and social disaster. Individual activity can pose serious dangers to nature and to culture. But how may we ensure that the constraints we may chose to impose our ones that are good for us? What we need to do is to find, as consistently as possible with the necessity that human individuals be able to use their local perception of local opportunity in pursuit of their own interests, a framework that emerges out of human practice; we should take advantage of lessons learned about evolution: those strategies work that are in tune with the forces at work within the niche. In our attempts to solve social problems, we can't afford to take our eyes off the characteristics of the individuals that make up the social world we hope to change. And in my view, here as elsewhere, the smallest intervention is likely to be the best.
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