An Investigation on Conceptions of Freedom and Right

Freedom and right are the concepts that constitute the ground of legal and moral sides of our social lives. When we look at the history of thought, it seems that they are examined in many aspects. However, when we think on them more deeply, we can recognize that it is not clear enough in what aspects these concepts differ from each other. That is, although they are defined differ-ently, when their usage considered, it will be noticed that in many cases, they are used interchangeably. For example, in the Turkish Constitution of 1982, they are used as “fundamental rights and freedoms” referring two different con-cepts. However, in his study, in which the difference between the concept of right and freedom is discussed, considering the usage of these concepts within the Constitution of 1982, Prof. Dr. Kemal Gözler claims that “In terms of our positive law, it is not possible to make a distinction between the concept of right and freedom”1 Within another study, it is claimed that “freedom is the common root of all rights, right requires the freedom. If an individual is not free, then right cannot make a sens”. However, I think there is no such a hierarchical relation between freedom and right. For example, although he is deprived of physical freedom, a person sentenced to prison also has some rights. At this point, it becomes the matter of question what is understood by the concept of “freedom”, that is, the different definitions of freedom become as the main issue. Freedom, in general, is defined as thinking or acting without any prevention, limitation and forcing from outside. Hobbes claims unlimited freedom, which people have before so-cial contract, in fact, is equals to the having no freedom, and such an unlimited freedom provides no advantages within the social life. However, some other philosophers, such as Rousseau, Kant, make a distinction between the nega-tive and positive meaning of freedom, and they claim it is the positive meaning of the freedom that reveals the moral side of human beings. They emphasize the importance and indispensability of freedom for an individual. In this study, by examining the complex relation between the mutually intertwined concepts of right and freedom, I try to clarify in what aspects they differ from each other.


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Citation Formats
S. Aydın Bayram, “An Investigation on Conceptions of Freedom and Right,” presented at the International Congress on Intercultural Dialogue and Education: Human Beings, Society, Intercultural Dialogue and Education at the Beginnings of the 21st Century, (8 - 11 Ekim 2009), Uludağ University, Bursa, Turkey, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: