Liberal Arts and Management Program | Ethics, Rights & Responsibilities
L416 | 10752 | Furniss, Norman


This seminar examines the troubled boundary between the value of
individual liberty and the value of living in a democracy. It would
be nice if these values could always be easily reconciled, but often
they cannot. For example, within variously interpreted limits, we
cherish the freedom to do and say what we want, and we usually, not
always, acknowledge the responsibilities associated with these
freedoms. But at the same time, for most of us individual liberty is
not the sole virtue, and we also have loyalties and commitments to
our families, our society, our employer, and our country. These
considerations raise the issue of whether our individually defined
freedoms can flourish only within the framework of a pluralistic
society and a democratic political order. If so, then what are our
responsibilities to our society and our country? What restrictions
on our liberties might be warranted in the name of the public good?
On the other side, what are the dangers that social, economic, or
political forces might overwhelm our personal freedoms?