Course Detail
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University Connected Learning
In a democratic society like ours, we believe that people should be free, that they have "an unalienable right" to liberty. We also recognize that there are many actions that can reasonably be prohibited by the laws and subject to punishment if performed. This means that with regard to liberty we have to figure out not only what we should be free to do but also what we should not be free to do. This leads to disputes. For example, some people believe that being made to wear a mask in public during this time of pandemic is a violation of their freedom; others find such a mandate unobjectionable, no different than the requirement that one drive a car only if one has passed a test and has a license. Both actions--the mask and the license--diminish the risk of harming others. Thus a large part of the question of liberty is about when we can and when cannot put others at the risk of harm. The subject of this course then is finding reasonable grounds for determining both the scope of liberty and its limits. In doing so we will be debating fundamental questions that continually face a democratic society.