' ' - ' ' - NotaBene.ru
Journal Menu
> Issues > Rubrics > About journal > Authors > About the journal > Requirements for publication > Editorial collegium > Peer-review process > Policy of publication. Aims & Scope. > Article retraction > Ethics > Online First Pre-Publication > Copyright & Licensing Policy > Digital archiving policy > Open Access Policy > Article Processing Charge > Article Identification Policy > Plagiarism check policy > Editorial board
Journals in science databases
About the Journal

MAIN PAGE > Back to contents
Philosophical Thought

Problems of Definition of Freedom Through the Concept of Responsibility

Mamarasulov Andrei Ravkhatovich

PhD in Philosophy

Associate Professor, Far Eastern Federal University

690002, Russia, Primorskii krai, g. Vladivostok, pr. Krasngogo Znameni, 51, kv. 636

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The subject of the study is the cognitive relationship between the concept of responsibility and the idea of freedom. The objects of research are the philosophical categories of responsibility and freedom. The author examines in detail such aspects of the topic as the epistemological disparity of these categories, the difference in their specificity as concepts, as well as the features of responsibility and freedom in the role of effective phenomena. Particular attention is paid to the problem of the possibility of defining or objectifying freedom through the concept of responsibility in those areas where such interaction is most evident, namely: at the intellectual, metaphysical, social levels and in the field of personal being. The main conclusion of the study is: responsibility is a psychological modification of the category of necessity, which returns to the classical antinomy "necessity-freedom" and does not allow making responsibility an epistemological correlate of freedom. This theoretical conclusion is supported by an analysis of the effect of responsibility on freedom in all spheres of human existence considered in the study, where responsibility does not define freedom, but, on the contrary, levels it. The main contribution of the author to the study is that responsibility is considered not as a moral category, but as a structural phenomenon defined through the concept of "whole". The novelty of the research lies in the author's attempt, being in the field of ethics, to separate responsibility and freedom as essentially different and not having a linear cognitive connection concepts.


responsibility, freedom, necessity, whole, entropy, personality, ethics, idea, metaphysics, philosophy of freedom

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

When you come across the statements "freedom is determined by responsibility" or "freedom implies responsibility", then there is a feeling that there is a moment of some logical constraint in such statements. Despite the intuitive nature of this feeling, it has a rational background. In fact, the concepts forming these bundles cannot be called epistemologically equivalent and equivalent. If responsibility is a practical category, conditioned by experience and reason, then freedom does not have a similar certainty, as well as a clear theoretical certainty in general. The attempt to equalize both concepts by means of the statements "freedom is determined by responsibility" or "freedom includes responsibility" touches with the indicated semantic dissonance, which can be expressed in the following question: on what basis can what should be thought of as the opposite of causality (freedom) be determined by causality (responsibility) or contain causality (responsibility)?

In addition, the concept of responsibility is a derivative of the concept of "whole" (in the simplest sense of a structure that has some constancy). The presence of this defining link makes an alternative link with freedom, at least, problematic [1]. That is, there are a number of common grounds for analyzing the relationship between the concepts of freedom and responsibility for consistency and at the same time comprehending the very possibility of objectification of freedom through an incomparably more specific concept of responsibility.

Responsibility as a rational concept and an effective phenomenon

There is a direct connection between the concepts of "responsibility" and "the whole", by virtue of which thinking defines responsibility as a practically effective concept. So the statement "the parent is responsible for the health and development of the child" implies "the parent wants his child to remain physically "whole" and represent some integral personality in the future." The words "spouses are responsible to each other" express the desire that the marital relationship remains intact and has no reason to break. The judgment "I am responsible to myself" means "I want to avoid damage and degradation that is, I want to remain whole and whole in any possible sense." When they say "I and no one else are responsible for the thing that belongs to me," they mean "I want my thing to remain whole so that its capabilities preserve the whole with mine." Etc. At the everyday level, we are so intensely involved in the relationship of responsibility that we rarely use analytics, discovering that responsibility is the desire to preserve the integrity of some significant object.

Let's analyze this definition. The meaning of the concept of "responsibility" is the preservation of a significant object as a whole. The integrity of the subject is therefore significant because it implies the desire to form a whole between the subject and this subject. Let us explain what has been said by a simple example: a hungry person is forced to strive to ensure that the food at his disposal does not spoil "remains intact". Food should form a physiological whole with his body so that the person himself remains whole (does not suffer from hunger). We characterize this attitude of a person to a significant object and to himself as a "responsible attitude". That is, the essential basis of responsibility is the concept of the whole, which includes the integrity of the significant object, the subject itself and the integrity of the connection between them.

Being extremely vulnerable beings both individually and socially, we are bound by the task of preserving the whole (integrity, integrity) with a high degree of necessity, which is why the concept of "responsibility" is available to reflection almost intuitively, without additional analysis. Indeed, in the most general sense, responsibility is the desire to prevent or slow down the process of entropy (destruction) of the whole. On the contrary, "acting irresponsibly" means not striving to preserve the whole with anything or anyone, increasing discord within the whole, entropy. That is, the purpose of responsibility is to preserve the whole - to prevent entropic, destructive processes in it. Which, for example, takes place during illness (that is, when the physiological integrity is violated), when the patient is forced to take responsibility for his own health.

The relationship between responsibility and the whole is determined by negative feedback: the higher the probability of the destruction of the whole after a certain action, the stronger the responsibility before that action. And although it would be grammatically correct to say not "before the action", but "before the action", but the language itself suggests that responsibility should precede in time (prepositions "before", "before") a potentially destructive action. Accordingly, we say "to be responsible to something". At the same time, if the subject of responsibility is the subject or what belongs to him, and not the object as such (for example, nature), the preposition changes to "for". In the statement "I am responsible for someone", the language itself suggests that we decide instead of him (i.e. "for"), as well as that we are not indifferent to his actions and what may follow them, and what we would like to prevent in them. If we transfer these general linguistic aspects to the etymology of the word "responsibility" itself (from the word "response" [2, p. 87]), it is quite clear that the answer to the possible threat of the destruction of the whole (entropy) must be given before this destruction. And provided that the response to a possible threat is related to the integrity of the subject, then the decision to prevent the threat can be made for him.

Thus, we come to the position that responsibility as the desire to preserve the whole, the avoidance of the entropy of the whole is an ordinary concept of the mind, reflecting from the practical side a specific functional meaning, and from the theoretical side it does not conclude any metaphysical context.

Freedom as a "deviant" concept

Turning to the characterization of the concept of freedom, we should, in our opinion, proceed from two formal aspects, revealed by Kant. Firstly, from the uncertainty of the ontological basis of freedom, by virtue of which freedom, taken as a "transcendental idea of pure reason", acts as an abstraction, a pure speculative form [3, p. 211]. Secondly, it is necessary to accept the fact of the practical effectiveness of the concept of freedom as a mental phenomenon. The concept of freedom acts in this aspect as an active figure of individual and social life, and it makes no sense to list the events in which the word "freedom" was the motive and leitmotif of the processes transforming reality. Freedom here is as much a participant and actor in human life as responsibility. That is, due to the named divergence of both aspects, freedom is characterized as an epistemologically ambivalent concept.

Indeed, from the objective side, freedom is an ontological "x", and from the subjective side, the understanding of freedom as a practical value and a conscious goal strives for maximum concreteness. Completely avoiding the formulation of the problematic in the spirit of "does freedom exist or does it not exist?" as completely intelligible, we are at the same time forced to proceed from Kant's position on the antinomian nature of freedom as a concept of reason. Therefore, in order not to go beyond this understanding, we will designate the category "freedom" by the term "deviant concept" (by analogy with the term "deviant behavior"), deviating from the logical norms defining the concept [4, p. 369]. With this designation (very conditional) we want to emphasize the nature of the concept of freedom, the meaning of which has an axiological force sufficient to perform a practical action, but at the same time does not have a sufficient and consistent basis in the mind. Which is expressed by the term "deviance" in the meaning of rationally unaccountable hyperactivity.

Such a discrepancy between the theoretical and practical aspects of the concept of freedom automatically flows into a situation of interaction with the concept of responsibility. On the one hand, the ontological uncertainty of freedom does not serve as a prohibition for the formation of a connection between the concepts of freedom and responsibility (which is present in the judgments "freedom is determined by responsibility", "freedom implies responsibility"). On the other hand, the very meaning of these statements pushes to the idea that there is such a relationship between freedom and responsibility, through the analysis of which it is possible to objectify freedom (or at least give it a significant degree of certainty). Which, in turn, raises the question: is it possible to define freedom through responsibility? Possibilities of solving this issue and dedicated further research.

The problematic nature of defining freedom through responsibility at the rational level

The statements "freedom is determined by responsibility", "freedom implies responsibility" assume that the subject has the freedom of choice, for which, as for his conscious act, he is responsible. And since a direct relationship is declared between freedom and responsibility [5, p. 340], then let's try to clarify it by posing the following question: will the subject (in his free choice) prefer above all others the option that is more related to responsibility? A positive answer to this question would give practical confirmation of the direct connection between freedom and responsibility, which in itself would deprive the consideration of problemativeness.

Based on the definition of responsibility as a process of preserving the whole, it seems that we will prefer the option of following responsibility, where we choose the whole in which the subject is more involved, the whole with which the subject is more connected. But the problem is that we choose not the whole itself, but the current model of the whole, only created by us or for us. Under this condition, the choice (when it is in a phase of uncertainty) is largely subjective, situational and accidental, and is not determined by responsibility due to the inability to comprehend the whole in the fullness of its universality. That is, "true responsibility", in order to be a direct motive for choice, would have to be correlated with some kind of "true consciousness".

Let's take such a contrasting example on purpose, in which responsibility reaches the scale of a certain "true consciousness". Let us resort to the biblical story of the betrayal of Christ by Judas, where Judas is faced with a choice between preserving his singular whole (good, life) and the universal whole embodied in Christ (everything). Could Judas, a mere mortal, know the final whole for Christ, the world and for himself, to which his choice would lead? No. Only some limited models of the whole are available to him, from which he needs to painfully choose something. Could Judas have made a different choice? Probably, yes. After all, as a mere mortal, he is influenced by an infinite number of significant and insignificant circumstances. Based on the definition of responsibility as a process of preserving the whole, the choice here will be subjectively random because it does not speak about the whole, but only about subjective involvement in some model of the whole. And at the same time - situational, because it is not known whether Judas's choice would have been different if he had to make it in a day or even an hour.

If responsibility is the preservation of the whole, then for what whole was Judas responsible? Obviously, he is responsible for the fact that he could not create a model of the universal Christian whole in his mind and see the "truth". It was for this that he suffered a real punishment, and it is in this spiritual limitation that the didactic meaning of his fate consists. Punishment became the price for irresponsibility, and responsibility was identified with "true consciousness". This conclusion comes from a religious example, and for a believer, where the whole is sacredly predetermined, it can be of serious significance and depth. But does such logic persist in common practice? Do we choose the option that is more related to responsibility?

Formally, we are punished in the form of the entropy of the whole for an irresponsible attitude towards ourselves, people and things, and, apparently, the loss of spiritual integrity is no exception - after all, they say: life will punish itself. The desire for a responsible attitude is quite clear: we quite consciously strive to avoid punishment (entropy) for irresponsibility, just as, for example, a person who is irresponsible about driving a car punishes himself one way or another. It is reasonable to seek to avoid punishment by entropy. It is also reasonable to create a model of a reasonable whole (for example, traffic rules) and protect its integrity, and even more so a model of a spiritual whole (for example, humanistic values). It would seem that in ordinary practical life, "true consciousness" coincides with responsibility, so we should automatically choose the option that is more related to responsibility.

However, this means that there is no freedom in such objectively "true consciousness". For the mind does not choose, but decides casually: "of course, you can not follow the rules, but then you will be punished." It is impossible to deduce a linear relationship between choice and responsibility, because a choice deprived of freedom ceases to be a choice, becoming a reproduction of rational duty or simply automatism. Moreover, when choosing an option in the direction of increasing responsibility, the sphere of freedom narrows, which is reflected in the words "I had no other choice." That is, the choice towards greater responsibility has two reasons, but none of them presupposes freedom. Or, instead of freedom, we come to the arbitrariness of subjectivity and situativeness - when there are no conscious sufficient grounds for choice, but only some arbitrary model of them is present. Or - to the determination of punishment on the part of reasonableness, just as, for example, the concept of "legal responsibility" operates only with punishment ("who did not follow the rules?"), not differing, in fact, from physical pain to the leg in the role of "punishment" for an imprudent step.

Thus, there is no such dependence between freedom and responsibility, when it could be argued that we freely prefer the option that is more strongly associated with responsibility. The more responsibility influences the decision, the less freedom there is in the choice itself. Even an ordinary judgment of the type "choosing towards greater responsibility is a necessity, not freedom" says that it is impossible to deduce a rational definition of freedom through responsibility. Being an ordinary concept of reason, responsibility is determined by the whole and punishment for the entropy of this whole, and when the whole is not fully recognized, then by random, situational models of the whole. That is, the concept of responsibility, taken at the level of reason, being determined by another (preservation of the whole), does not need a direct connection with the concept of freedom and, accordingly, does not serve as a correlate of the latter.

At the same time, in everyday life, the concept of "freedom" is used so actively that a person needs to represent it effectively, and as something rational, elementary and given objectively. Hence, two ideas about freedom that are opposite to each other, let's call them "vulgar", are born. In the first of them, freedom means something that can be associated with Freud's "It", that is, with the action of vital forces, instincts, drives, etc. Although there is no point in explaining that vitality itself is a biological necessity in its pure form, and not freedom in any way. In the second view, freedom is identified with the subject through the role of law in the very popular thesis "the freedom of one ends where the freedom of the other begins." Such a model, let's call it the "service model" of freedom, setting only formal boundaries of freedom, means a dictate of responsibility over freedom, where a person is a closed monad connected to a similar person-monad by the functionality of the whole uniting them. Freedom nevertheless seems to be something more substantial and active than a self-limited element of the system, which implies punishment for spreading oneself to another. Is it possible by analogy, for example, to say: "The happiness of one ends where the happiness of the other begins"?

Both of these representations of mass consciousness indicate that when the concept of freedom remains without a sufficient basis, it is vulgarized. At the same time, freedom is also not defined through responsibility: there is no rational relationship between them. In the first case, freedom is replaced by an unconscious necessity, and in the second - by formal subjectivity, represented like a kind of self-contained Leibniz monad. But the fact that a person seeks to define freedom even in spite of theoretical unreasonableness demonstrates the urgent need for an effective representation of freedom. This contradiction brings us back to the above-mentioned innate "deviance" in the definition of freedom and forces us to look at the problem of the relationship between freedom and responsibility a little deeper.

Problematic definition of freedom through responsibility at the level of metaphysics

Let us introduce metaphysics into our discussion the idea of the transcendent Self in the meaning of the original cause of freedom - causa sui [6, p. 8]. For simplicity of presentation, as well as to emphasize the conditionality of the assumption made, we will designate this idea with the term "quantum of freedom". The "quantum of freedom" is a speculative assumption that the basis and source of choice is a certain Self, whose choice is neither subjectively nor objectively conditioned, but is made from what the Self chooses as a kind of constancy in relation to changeable subjectivity and objectivity. Simply put, the "quantum of freedom" is nothing more than an absolutized singularity (uniqueness, uniqueness) of the Self, which represents an independent cause among the "ordinary" subjective and objective reasons. The consequence of this will be that the Ego, in the role of an independent cause, will "quantize with freedom" everything that it does not come into contact with, interfering with subjective and objective determination, thereby adding an element of randomization and uncertainty to the usual causal relationship.

Let's see if introducing the ontological basis of freedom in the form of such a "quantum of freedom" will help objectify the connection between freedom and responsibility. Metaphorically speaking, let responsibility be an ideal circle, and the action of the "quantum of freedom" is different variations of this circle, departing from the ideal "quantized by freedom". In this sense, any of my actions will not be the ideal of responsibility, but will be "quantized by freedom", being always to some extent irresponsible, where I, as the subject of this action, will be the "quantum of freedom" or the source of "some freedom". For clarity, let's imagine a situation in which the manager gives us responsibility for the integrity of the workflow and sets clear, reasonable rules. Let's remove all our subjective and objective conditionality from the conditions as a distracting element, leaving only "quantization by freedom". The question is, will the conditional quality of the workflow as a whole deteriorate or improve? That is, how will such freedom affect responsibility? Obviously, a unique Self as a "quantum of freedom" will distort the whole workflow. However, where, to what extent, when and in what qualitative direction - has no certainty. This "quantum noise", like the phenomenon of mutation in genetics, is just a background process. At the same time, some "mutations" relative to the "genetic whole" of a given responsibility harm the latter, others are neutral, and others in the changeable and long-term perspective turn out to be useful. However, there is no direct connection between responsibility and the metaphysical assumption of the "quantum of freedom". Both substrates are in their own sphere, and the interaction between them will be random: responsibility determines the whole, the "quantum of freedom" determines the Ego.

Let's add even more metaphysical element to the ontological basis of freedom. Having similarly eliminated all the subjective and objective conditionality of the Ego, let's imagine a kind of conditional "Mozart", who was given a creative gift (similar to the divine) to create a qualitatively highly organized and stable whole like gold. That is, such a "Mozart" is no longer just a preestablished manifestation of the freedom of the Self, but also the integral essence of freedom itself that reveals itself in the Self. Perhaps because of this there is a connection between responsibility and freedom? Probably not. After all, the state of the whole inherent in such a creative gift is stable by itself, does not undergo an obvious threat of entropy and needs not responsibility for the sake of preserving the whole, but an even greater disclosure of the constantly surpassing whole. The dominance of the vector of responsibility in this case will limit, close, squeeze, poison this whole. Thus, coming into conflict with the self-revealing whole, responsibility inverts its meaning, which, for example, is symbolically illustrated by Pushkin in his Mozart and Salieri. Where Mozart is a windy, but possessing the designated gift of "quantum of freedom", and his poisoner Salieri is the personification of a mediocre and hypertrophied responsible attitude to music.

Between this artistic and symbolic example - the murder of Mozart Salieri - and the previous, religious example - Judas' betrayal of Christ - there is a common ground, consisting in the fact that freedom in them was predicted metaphysically. Namely: in the first case, Judas' freedom is determined by God, in the second, Mozart's freedom is determined by his creative gift. Do we have any reason to consider such metaphysical freedom as something quite real? Apparently not. But we have the right to consider real human models of the whole in which such freedom is involved, that is, the model of religious freedom and the model of creative freedom [4, p. 297]. What role does responsibility play in this case does it try (as responsibility should) to preserve the models of the whole? No, its bearers - Judas and Salieri - do not understand the freedom to which they must treat responsibly, they are essentially not involved in it and cannot form a connection with it. Entropy and punishment follow here not because of irresponsibility, but as a lack of involvement in freedom in the metaphysical depth of its existential foundations. That is, responsibility in the examples under consideration has no direct significance even didactically, and even more so as a litmus test for identifying freedom.

So, modeling the ontological basis of freedom through the assumption of a single "quantum of freedom" and as its qualitatively organized self-existence, we do not observe a connection with responsibility. There is less of it here than, say, in my desire to keep my favorite coffee mug intact, treating it responsibly. It is quite obvious that the choice in the uncertainty phase - "I choose either this or that" - is correlated from the outside: 1) subjectivity and situativeness, 2) rationality and punishment, 3) the assumption of a "quantum of freedom" in the form of a model of an absolutized singularity or an absolutized creative gift. That is, both at the rational level and at the metaphysical level, freedom does not directly follow from responsibility in any way. And if the connection between freedom and responsibility is indirect, then the question arises is there such a connection at all?

Let's try to answer this question by considering a metaphysical concept that appeals specifically to the designated "connection between responsibility and freedom in general", which is represented by Sartre's existentialism. Once an individual, Sartre believes, is born in a universal context for no reason ("abandonment"), then the individual's being is free. Consequently, he concludes, "my abandonment, my factuality is the foundation of my full responsibility for my existence" [7, p. 560]. However, it is quite obvious that this conclusion, being under the influence of the "deviance" of the concept of freedom, which initially gives freedom an axiological force, comes entirely from moral grounds (responsibility and freedom are good) and is motivated solely by them. If we remove these moral grounds, then Sartre's judgment will take the following form: "everything is meaningless, therefore, the existence of my thought, as the only source of meaning, must be preserved whole." That is, we have a secondary position regarding Descartes' substantial "I think, therefore I exist", and not at all a postulation of some "absolute freedom and responsibility". Moreover, what will this appeal to responsibility mean then - "thinking must remain whole"? This is nothing but the rejection of the entropy of reason, the fear of madness and chaos, which, like any fear, is simply the unwillingness of entropy. Thus, instead of the existence of some higher universal connection between freedom and responsibility, which would turn the whole question towards metaphysics, we again come to one thing - to the real and completely elementary process of entropy as the natural basis of responsibility.

Problematic definition of freedom through responsibility at the level of social existence

Let's return to the essential definition of responsibility by looking at the phenomenon of responsibility from the side of its genealogy. The process of counteracting entropy as a preservation of the biological integrity of an individual and a species is called the "struggle for survival". However, a person, a being still rational and social, has a "responsibility" - something that is responsible for the integrity of rational and social moments, which to a certain extent ensure biological survival. Hence, logically speaking, a person's ability to make a conscious choice should be predetermined by the model that is recognized as more reasonable and socially constructive. Responsibility, therefore, should be generated either by rational logic (for example, "if you drive in the oncoming lane, you will die"), or by sociality ("if you do not show love for others, you will disappear"). But reasonableness and sociality are different things, which of them is the responsibility focused on? Which whole the mind or society is called upon to maintain responsibility by its origin?

The mind is a stable system, internally provided with mechanisms to protect its integrity and therefore does not have the possibility of functioning in the mode of irresponsibility to itself insanity, and delusions of reason (for example, a model of a geocentric system) is a phenomenon that does not directly entail responsibility. Society is a completely different matter. This is, in fact, chaos (a procedural mixture of heterogeneous and multidirectional), permanently balancing on the verge of disintegration, each time organized with enormous efforts into a semblance of a whole, which is immediately ready to fall apart from every little thing. It is natural that to perform the Sisyphean work of protecting and organizing into a whole the most unstable society is entrusted to the most stable reason [8, p. 198]. So, probably, responsibility by its origin is the need to preserve the integrity of the social moment of human existence. And although in this case it is possible to assert the social origin of responsibility only in an approximate vision, but this is already enough to proceed to the consideration of the relationship between responsibility and freedom in the context of social existence.

Society is a polyphony of heterogeneous and multidirectional intentions that combine into a cacophony and form chaos, which is almost impossible to influence rationally without first bringing society to the consciousness of responsibility. Just as Freud's instance of the "Super-Ego" acts on the "I" by fear of punishment, so society is organized to a very large extent by fear of punishment by entropy. The task of the organizing mind is to point out the threat of entropy, its causes and create models of the social whole opposing this threat. In this case, we will try to determine the relationship between responsibility and the opposite of social chaos - the concept of the social whole.

If, as suggested above, responsibility has its root in the social moment, then the contradiction between the phenomenon of society and the concept of "social whole" immediately manifests itself. The process of organizing society into a system turns into its opposite at the moment when society, reaching the state of an impersonal homogeneous whole, is filled with destructive tension in relation to such a state. The question is, how can responsibility, the essence of which is the preservation of the social whole, preserve what is not essentially a whole, and if nominally approaching the state of the whole, then automatically begins to undergo entropy?

Obviously, this contradiction is resolved by the fact that 1) instead of a real whole, reason creates a model of a biologically prosperous whole (economic, ideological, etc.), 2) being biosocial beings, the social whole is embedded in us immanently (the power of empathy, etc.), 3) culture forms the consciousness of the essential identity of people (religious morality, humanism). That is, responsibility has a well-defined whole as its objects, respectively: 1) biological, 2) mental, 3) rational-spiritual. Since responsibility by definition does not create a whole, but only preserves it, the social whole must already be predestined to responsibility in the form of value [9]. Let us leave without explanation the selfevident fact that the task of preserving objects of social responsibility - models of biological well-being, mental community and the idea of rational-spiritual identity of people, fixed at the level of secular constitutions and religious precepts, are objective social values. Is it possible then to say that social values contain freedom, being, as it were, a "package" for freedom? Does it mean that the responsibility protecting them creates the conditions to "open the packaging" in the form of these values, and thereby serves the process of objectification, the disclosure of freedom?

On the one hand, classical theories of progress, interpreting the practice of the development of the civilizational moment of culture, give a positive answer to this question [10]. On the other hand, the opposite conceptual line is also very significant, talking about social values as the causes of "slavery", and not freedom. Such are, for example, the ethics of kinism, Nietzsche's immoralism, Freud's theory of neurotization of the individual and society, criticism of consumer society, etc. [11, p. 24], depriving a positive response of an alternative meaning. Accordingly, in view of the conceptual difference of opinion on this issue, there is no indisputable theoretical basis for objectification of some indefinite, but as it were goal-oriented freedom hidden within social values. At the same time, both directions agree that freedom is not defined as the goal of social values ("freedom for the sake of freedom"), but is considered as a resource, in the first case replenished and increased in proportion to the progress of civilization, and in the second, on the contrary, the resource is suppressed, irreplaceable and decreasing.

However, even regardless of both variants of the answer to the question "do social values reveal freedom or, on the contrary, close and level?" it is extremely doubtful that social values can have as their goal anything other than the process of functioning of models of the social whole. Namely, the whole, without which society is immediately threatened with disintegration, which is what social responsibility as a function is designed to prohibit. Therefore, it is easiest to assume that freedom, considered as a goal, is something that is generally taken out of the circle of functioning of social values, just as, for example, a horse cannot in any way represent the goal of the rider controlling it. This again shows the essence of the "deviance" of the concept of freedom practically concrete, but hidden from theoretical clarity.

And since social values cannot be clearly defined as a "package" for the special being freedom enclosed in them, then their very form as values is questioned. After all, if social values provide only vitality, then they turn from "values" into vital functions - conditions of survival [12, p. 187]. The concept of "value" acquires only nominal meaning here, just as, for example, a dislocation makes the lost function of a joint a value, although the joint itself and its function are natural and as such are not called a value. Social values, in this case, are nothing more than social functions, where the use of the word "value" indicates just the inherent instability of these functions and, accordingly, the permanent need to ensure their stability.

Thus, it can be argued, not without reason, that responsibility in relation to "social values" is not intended for the practical disclosure of freedom, but to ensure the vital functionality of society. In any case, we cannot come to the position that responsibility in the social sphere gives rise to something qualitatively special freedom. No matter how huge the differences in benefits, opportunities and knowledge have historically been, we are only facing an incomplete stream of human development that exists due to the constancy of social functions and the growth of their organization. And social responsibility, of course, plays an increasingly increasing role as the social structure becomes more complex [13, p. 977]. This process is similar to how a mature person, due to the fact that his basic social functions remain intact, including the function of their development, is in no way comparable with himself in childhood in terms of benefits, opportunities and knowledge. But an adult does not have any kind of rebirth in terms of freedom, only modifications of the same functional flow and responsibility, which, as it were, are brightened up by the words "this is your free choice how to use your powers." However, just this judgment has a special significance.

The problematic nature of defining freedom through responsibility in the sphere of personal existence

The words "it's your free choice how to use your powers" take us from the social sphere, where functionality absorbs, rather than objectifies freedom, to the sphere of personality. Here, in contrast to the homogeneity and constancy of the process of social functioning, a qualitative transition to a state of freedom is assumed, when a person is represented as a carrier, a subject of freedom. Perhaps the relationship between responsibility and freedom is in the conceptual field of personal existence? Indeed, representing personal powers (potentia) as an individual's property [14, p. 236], which is a whole with him, capital cannot be taken away from an individual's ability to dispose of personal forces, where the consciousness of the qualities of these forces belongs immanently to the individual himself. All this practical and theoretical identity of the individual and his forces [2, p. 79] determines the degree of independence, autonomy of the individual, in connection with which the statement "this is your free choice how to use your forces" seems quite legitimate.

Let us consider personality not as a sum of external derivatives, but in the meaning of an original phenomenon, where it is important that the named identity of the individual and his forces constitutes a whole that is designed to preserve responsibility, and all this is united by the word "personality". Here we will not touch on the absolutized understanding of personality, since an absolute personality must have absolute powers, and this is either impossible, or the concept of personality passes into the concept of God. At the same time, we use as a visual object some permissible idealization of the concept of personality, when the personality, actively manifesting its quality externally, is clearly visible. In general, this will be the model of personality, the interpretation of which is given in Nietzsche's idea of the superman [15, p. 198] or Toynbee's theory of the "creative personality" [16, p. 265]. And here we are immediately confronted not with the fact of freedom, but with the need for a person to "overcome" morality (Nietzsche) or "challenge and response" (Toynbee). The personality (in the ideal type under consideration) is called to confront society in the constructive plan in which it acts as the key and source of the development of society. After all, the concept of "society" differs from the concept of "herd" or "flock" in that society is defined by the unity and struggle of the opposite the individual and society. Now let's raise a general question: how legitimate is the statement "it's your free choice how to use your powers" in relation to the individual, or is the personal being of a person subordinated to a special necessity inherent exclusively in this being?

As a figurative illustration to the question posed, we will cite the legendary meeting of Diogenes of Sinope and Alexander the Great, who "tested the strength" of the former with material goods. If Diogenes had accepted the benefits offered, his personality would have turned out to be profoundly false, revealing the complete fictitiousness of his worldview and teaching; as a result, Diogenes simply would not have been known to us in the image of a "genuine personality". And Alexander's answer - "if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes" - is evidence of confirmation of the authenticity of one person by another genuine person. Unlike the previous examples with Judas and Mozart, where freedom is predestined (by God and, accordingly, by a creative gift), Diogenes' choice is not reasoned by metaphysical freedom, because the concepts of "fate", "fate", "fate" do not speak about freedom. The words "fate is not chosen" in the example of Diogenes cannot be an argument, leaving the choice of fate to the personality itself, but they also contain the need for responsibility to the integrity of the personality and its causal role in being. Thus, we are faced with the problem of freedom and necessity: freedom of choice (performed only personally, without a metaphysical basis) and a certain personal necessity. Which of them determines personal choice?

To answer the question posed, it is necessary to consider the concept of "personal necessity" that opposes free choice, that is, to determine the basic conditions of being a person, assumed in three points: 1) in the universal, 2) in the special and 3) in the singular. Consider these points. In the process of its formation, the personality is not reasoned by the choice "to be a person or not to be?" - the reason for the formation of personality is casually inscrutable and situationally unpredictable. This is not a selection in the plane of opposition to something "impersonal" of the "personal", the formation of personality is influenced by everything, the universality of causes, which is the universal moment of being a personality. The next moment - the moment of the special has a basis in the fact that the personality as the cause of something can be stated only in a special way, namely in the past perfect tense, but not in the future and present, when the named universal factors of formation act (that is, it is not the personality that acts, but the universality that continues to form personality). The correlation of the definiteness of personality from the side of time here is similar to the definition of causality in Hume, where the stone breaking glass does not contain the cause of glass breaking, but is called the cause after the fact, by the perfect action. Finally, the moment of the singular is expressed in the fact that a person cannot act entirely according to someone's model, because a person as something singular must become a model all his life, thereby becoming visible to another.

Proceeding from the above, the general conditions for determining personal necessity, bearing in mind the phenomenon of "genuine" personality outlined above, should be: 1) the universal (universal) nature of personality formation, 2) the past perfect tense, 3) the completed individual model of personality. Let us analyze each of them separately in order to answer the following question: how are these necessary conditions for the existence of a personality related to free choice?

Let's consider the first of these conditions - "the universal nature of personality formation". Since the process of personality formation is the result of everything in general, and not of some set of specific reasons or purposeful selection, this process is clothed in the category of "universe" as the universality that determines the formation and fate of the personality. For such a reason, personality is identical and its goal is the same universe, because the task of "becoming a person" is not the goal of becoming a person; becoming a person is a process that permanently unfolds only within the limits of the named universality of causes. In other words, the goal of a person is not a specific subject, but the universe as a whole. Therefore, the formation of a personality in the image of an active whole, determined by its continuity with the universe, takes over from the universe its quality - continuity in itself. This is what the expression "integral personality" implies in the sense of the inseparable identity of the individual and his forces, as Berdyaev says: "Personality is my holistic thinking, my holistic volition, my holistic feeling, my holistic creative acts" [17, p. 21].

Thus, there is a consequence of the whole (the emergence of personality), the desire for the whole (the goal of personality) and the consciousness of the whole (personal consciousness). Responsibility to such a dictate of the whole does not imply freedom. For personality, firstly, is too unstable a vector of the formation of the whole, which needs to be preserved through organized efforts. Secondly, the dictate of the universal whole tends to prioritize the personal principle over the individual principle free from it. An allegory of what can serve as a well-known anecdote about Thales [18, p. 129], who fell into a well: "you see the stars, but what you don't notice under your feet." Personality is dissolved in the whole, and this is its first condition, under which the whole, which forms personal being, puts the individual as something accidental at its service, assimilating and sublimating it.

Let's analyze for free choice the second of the set personality conditions - "past perfect tense". In this case, we need to resort to an analogy with a related concept differentiating a special moment of personality - "soul". The ontological reality of the soul, following from Kant, can neither be proved nor refuted. However, agnosticism, as a result, does not expel the concept of the soul, it only changes the status of the predestined being to the status of being identified by itself. In the religious establishment and worldview, the soul as the "divine soul within us" is given from God by itself, by default and without any effort on the part of the individual. In the absence of such an ontological basis, the soul is forced to prove itself, and the process of this proof is permanent, because any evidence is not final because of the impossibility of final evidence. But in spite of this, in opposition to an automatic, robot-like existence, the soul must manifest, declare itself, which without any speculativeness we identify in the words "it animates, animates and inspires." Thus, both in individual and collective experience, the soul moves from the passive reality of the metaphorical concept into an active state of self-existence. Accordingly, the soul is not the future time, where there is no soul, because it still needs to be proved, and not the past, because it cannot be a guarantee against the subsequent non-existence of the soul. The soul is always the present processality: in order to prove the existence of one's own soul, it is necessary to declare and manifest its existence only in the present extended time.

The above analogy shows that mental phenomena can be strongly correlated with time. In this aspect, the difference between the mental phenomena "soul" and "personality" is that personality has as its condition the past perfect tense, and not the present continued. As far as the soul is a processality, so the personality is an accomplished certainty, because consciousness considers the personality as a definite cause of the committed action (Alexander conquered the East, Mozart wrote a requiem). The present and future tense in the phase of making a choice are a mixture of any kind of motivations and counter-motivations, there is no pure personal reason here. Such is born only after a choice. After all, whatever the choice may be arbitrary (come what may), voluntaristic (let it be so), rational (it will be better this way) or, what is typical, all this together the decision is made, the hubbub of multidirectional motivations instantly ceases, the decision becomes the cause of the action, and the action itself is a personal act.

That is, we judge a person not because she makes a choice, but because she makes a decision on a question of varying degrees of complexity [19, p. 12]. For example, when Alexander cuts the Gordian knot, the scale of his personality is not determined by freedom of choice at all: there is absolutely nothing valuable in the freedom of choice "to cut or not to cut" (to conquer the East or not to conquer). After all, free choice in itself as a fact of the existence of available opportunities is not given by default - from nowhere, but is the result of situations, decisions and actions that have previously created these opportunities. Initially and for no reason, only an empty form of freedom is given, which is not a personal merit and does not represent anything valuable in a personal sense. The value lies only in the decision made on an issue with a high degree of complexity. So Alexander could not know whether the scale of his personality corresponded to the tasks set by him, but through "overcoming being", "challenge and response", having already completed these tasks, he (like now we) knows that his personality is a real active force. And, conversely, another textbook example - the parable of Buridan's donkey, where there is a dominant of free choice (by means of motives that reduce each other), but the decision is completely paralyzed - teaches when exactly the symbol "dead donkey" appears instead of the personality.

The solution is the overcoming of the uncertainty of freedom of choice (that is, by the fact of the state of absence of causality); free choice itself is practically nothing, emptiness, because choice exists for decision as a hand for action. The decision is motivated not by useful or suitable, but by everything in general, because a person does not choose from many things, but decides from everything. In turn, the solution always exists in the past perfect tense, so only in the context of the past perfect tense can we objectify the personality. But in the past tense, when all processuality has ended, there can no longer be any freedom, invariance: the personality is defined through its decisions and has become one of the links of fixed cause-and-effect relationships. So, reading about the deeds of Alexander, we see all this unchanging historical chain of sequences in which action is determined by the decisions of those who, thanks to this, have gained the scale of personality. Thus, it is not free choice that determines personality, but its decisions, and when personality is defined, the past perfect tense as a condition of the latter leaves no place for freedom.

Let's now look at the third of the presented personality conditions - the "completed unit model". The future plays a significant role in the choice being made, because the mind builds a project, models, linking the consequences of the choice with the future in general. And since a person represents a moment of uniqueness, uniqueness, then the designated model of personality development is defined as a single one, which cannot coincide with some other model, and therefore be entirely determined by the latter. It is clear that, for example, the personality model built by Diogenes is different from the model of his teacher Antisthenes, and Mozart's personality model contradicts Salieri's model. Along with a single moment, the choice is influenced by the moment of the universal, because the project of personal development unites the whole individual life and the whole world in the categories of "my way", "vocation", "destiny". Thus, an essential element of consistency is introduced into the choice, which automatically tends to resolve and end in the form of a certain system localized in the personality. Of course, a person, in accordance with the variability of his life, is free to abandon a certain model or transform it in every possible way, but the existence of a model is necessary in the sense in which it constitutes and preserves the logic of his development in the meaning of personality. And how important the personality model is for the development of the personality itself can be judged by the willingness to "overcome being", "respond to the challenge of being" in one way or another inherent in all historically significant personalities.

Why should the personality model be "complete", and in what does it have completion? The criterion of completeness of the personality model is not its causal effect (this is the criterion of objectification of personality); the criteria, in the sense in which the project is considered completed, is the consistency of the model. Namely: the internal consistency and consistency of existing ideas about reality. At the same time, accumulated experience, external and internal variability - constant correlates of modeling - do not cancel this criterion. Thus, the "completeness" of the personality model should be determined by: 1) internal logical consistency, 2) consistency with the present idea of reality, 3) uniqueness of the personality itself.

To illustrate, let's look at an example where these criteria are hypertrophied and therefore seen more clearly. Socrates' "genius" is a kind of personality model to such an extent that it was perceived by Socrates himself almost as a split of his individuality. It makes no sense to explain how much Socrates' personality is permeated by the designated criteria - it obeyed internal logical consistency, consistency with its existing ideas about reality required by his "genius", and, finally, through the qualities of "genius" it had completeness as a unique singularity. Probably, Jung would have called such a "genius" a manifestation of the "self", but even to the underlying question of selfconsciousness "who am I?" we are looking for a complete answer based on the same criteria - internal logic, consistency with the external and our uniqueness.

The existence of a personality is formatted by its own theoretical model no less than any conscious development by the general project of this development. Since the future is not actually given, alienated as not yet existing, the personality is correlated with the future only in the form of modeling itself in it. Based on the natural uncertainty of the future, a person should show even greater responsibility to the integrity of the logic of this modeling. And since it is necessary to include the moment of a person's uniqueness in the calculation, the model is even more deeply localized within the personality itself, objectifying not freedom, but the categories "my way", "vocation", "destiny". Despite all the flexibility, all-round mobility of these categories (after all, they do not pronounce a verdict and do not say a certain fate), they do not indicate individual freedom, but the consistency and consistency of existing potencies, experience, worldview required by a person, as well as the completeness of the personality model that is born here.

Let's return to Socrates as an example. Was Socrates' decision to categorically reject the possibility of escape and accept hemlock a consequence of free choice or the action of a completed single model of his personality? Of course, we can only assume about his model itself, as immanently given exclusively to Socrates, but, apparently, the choice between life and death from the formal side was no different for him from any other conscious decision dictated by his personality model. Intriguing researchers [20, p. 25] the everyday nature of Socrates' last words "Crito, we owe Asclepius a cock! So give it back, don't forget" as if emphasizes: "Why should there be a difference in the choice between life and death and any other choice of mine? Nothing changes I do the same as always." It is not known whether such a death was included in the Socrates personality model, but it is certain that such a death was part of the completeness of his model as a wellknown symbol of subordination of individual freedom to the responsibility of the whole personality. The question of the motive "Why did Socrates do this? After all, nothing prevented us from doing otherwise" conceals a riddle, the answer to which may be the following: "Because he was Socrates, and Socrates always did so" - "so", that is, as a single model of personality completed in logic, the model of objectification of which he was and remains. If we assume not this causality of "overcoming being", "challenge and response", but "Socrates' free choice", then we will simply introduce an emptiness of pure form, which will not change anything in what has been said.

Thus, the answer to the question posed about the validity of the statement "it is your free choice how to use your powers" in relation to personal existence will be negative. And this statement itself is not a theoretical judgment, but a common expression, a speech figure. For if we look at the personality categorically, then such a structure of casuality is revealed, which dominates both in the definition and in the motivation of the personality in all three designated conditions of its existence. The everyday nature of the expression "it's your free choice how to use your strength", of course, cannot be the basis for personal choice to be considered a manifestation of freedom. And the theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of personality does not reveal any active element of freedom in personal choice. The general logic of the formation, existence and development of personality reveals only responsibility, which (as elsewhere) suppresses, sublimates, assimilates or simply ignores everything that, being foreign to the whole personality, could be correlated with a certain freedom.

Moreover, the validity of the judgment "this is your free choice how to use your powers" is determined not at all by the sphere of personal being, to which, as it may seem, it corresponds, but by the sphere of social being. The very fact that the analyzed judgment has the form of an appeal (to another or to oneself from the position of another), concludes a social connection. The very immediate meaning of the judgment "it's your free choice how to use your powers" consists in the division of responsibility between subjects due to the fact that they recognize each other as socially capable. In other words, the thought expressed in it means: "You are recognized as a capable element of the social whole, aware of the measure of responsibility to it; on this basis, you can either share responsibility with other elements of this whole, or not." Which in everyday language boils down to a simple query: "Will you preserve some social whole or will you not? Is it important to you or not?".

And although in everyday consciousness the concepts of "social capacity" and "personality" may be confused in view of the initiation of social autonomy, but these are categorically different concepts. Therefore, if the judgment in question concerns the topic of personality, it is as indirectly as the social functionality of an employee speaks about his personal qualities. That is, the judgment "this is your free choice how to use your strength", although it served as a formal basis and reason for analyzing the sphere of personal being, does not objectify any freedom in it, and because it simply does not relate to the sphere of personality, and in the sphere of social, as mentioned above, freedom is absorbed by the functionality of social responsibility.

The general basis for the problematic definition of freedom through the concept of responsibility

Having considered the main areas in which the connection defining freedom with responsibility was assumed, namely, the conceptual, metaphysical, social, personal, we see a very homogeneous situation, expressed in the following:

1) Responsibility does not reveal freedom, but sublimates, suppresses or ignores the action of any elements that directly or indirectly threaten the whole on which responsibility is focused.

2) The whole, on which responsibility is concentrated, represents a fragile and vulnerable structure, and with the metaphysical assumption of an indestructible whole, independent of entropy, responsibility disappears, giving way to the aesthetic quality of perception of such a whole.

3) There is no causality determining freedom in the action of responsibility on freedom, which means that there is no determinism of freedom on the part of responsibility.

Let's put a general question: why is responsibility not a condition for determining freedom? The answer will be in the different relationship of responsibility and freedom to the process of entropy. Responsibility arises as an effective confrontation of entropy in favor of the preserved whole. Namely: the whole is preserved theoretically - as a pre-established logical necessity of responsibility (without which there will be nothing to preserve responsibility), and practically - in the will (the whole must remain integral). Being a process subordinated to these tasks, responsibility functions without any correlation with the speculative assumption about the whole that is not subject to entropy, that is, an absolutely indestructible whole. The concept of the absolute indestructibility of the preserved whole not only does not represent any functional significance for responsibility, but responsibility cannot rise above itself here as a structure correlated only with entropy.

Freedom (as an idea) is the essence of the "other" in relation to the existence of necessity and must be conceivable in that absolutely indestructible, to which the necessity of entropy does not extend and in which it has no effect. Responsibility is working with entropy out of necessity, and freedom should be understood as something fundamentally incompatible with the process of entropy. Therefore, it is possible to assert the conceptual objectification of freedom only under the condition that responsibility loses the meaning of necessity, that is, disappears. This provision is fully consistent with the general conclusion reached in the work: under the influence of responsibility, freedom is not defined, but is leveled and disappears.

It is quite obvious that in the end we came to a classic confrontation between the concepts of "necessity" and "freedom". This means that responsibility cannot be a category defining freedom, because it acts as a manifestation of necessity itself determinism, with all the resulting well-known ambivalence between the existence of necessity and the existence of freedom. Thus, we come to the position that in order to be able to objectify freedom (in any format of reflection philosophical, artistic, scientific, etc.), it is necessary to abandon the idea of the cognitive significance of the "responsibility-freedom" bundle, which is only a psychological modification of the antinomic "necessity-freedom" bundle for cognition.


Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The article under review attempts to return to the discussion of one of the important problems of philosophical ethics the problem of the relationship between freedom and responsibility. The author adheres to an approach that is referred to in modern philosophy as "incompatibilism" (although we did not manage to find this term in the text of the article itself). In essence, the article is a detailed replica in an "imaginary discussion" on fundamental problems of ethics, in which the author provides a number of arguments in favor of the view that the concepts of freedom and responsibility are "multilevel", and in addition, act as "poles" of the "methodological constellation" that has developed in ethics, in accordance with which has necessity and its derivatives on one side (to which, the author believes, responsibility also belongs), and freedom on the other. As for the latter circumstance, it actually prompts us to characterize the author's position as incompatibilism. Regarding the idea of "multilevelness" of the concepts under consideration, it should be stated that it looks justified only if it is assumed that responsibility unambiguously relates only to the sphere of necessity. But is it true? Reflecting on this issue, it becomes clear that the main drawback of the article, in the opinion of the reviewer, is that the author resolutely defends this (as well as a number of others) position, but does not disclose the reasons that encourage him to adhere to the expressed point of view. This circumstance somehow manifests itself in all sections of the text, in some places it seems that the author simply excludes the possibility of alternative installations. However, even with this remark in mind, the article is still read with interest. The author examines in some detail the relationship between freedom and responsibility at various "levels of being" of interest to ethics, trying to show in each of the cases that freedom cannot be deduced from responsibility. It is unlikely that the format of the review implies the possibility of a detailed discussion with the author on each of the points, but in general it seems fair to note that even when it is difficult to agree with the author "in full", he, admittedly, manages to bring interesting arguments in defense of his position. The only point that I would like to draw attention to here is that the author ignores a number of categories of ethics, which, in the opinion of the reviewer, could bring together or even "reconcile" freedom and responsibility. In any case, the category of conscience, which presupposes a person's free acceptance of responsibility as an element that binds all subjects of activity in the social space, inevitably comes to mind (and then, perhaps, the rigid opposition of the "metaphysical spheres" of freedom and necessity could be overcome). However, the comments made are of a debatable nature, it is impossible to deny that the reviewed article is of interest both to specialists in the field of ethics and cultural history, and to a wider range of readers. I recommend publishing it in a scientific journal.
Link to this article

You can simply select and copy link from below text field.

Other our sites:
Official Website of NOTA BENE / Aurora Group s.r.o.