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A Mathematical Theory of Freedom

Hassan Ajami
2019 / 10 / 5


The mathematical theory of freedom mathematizes freedom in the following way: freedom = personal responsibility x acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires x self-advancement (i.e. freedom is equal to personal responsibility multiplied by acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires which in turn is multiplied by self-advancement). This means that freedom is a mathematical equation defined in terms of the multiplication between personal responsibility, self-advancement, and acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires.

According to this analysis of freedom, one is free if one is responsible for one’s actions, and hence one is legitimately subject to praise and/or blame. This is because if someone could not be held responsible for one’s actions, due to mental illness´-or-any other condition, then one is not actually free. And if someone is not acting in accordance to one’s beliefs and desires, and thus one is coerced to act in accordance to the beliefs and desires of others, then one is not really free. This is why freedom also resides in behaving in light of one’s beliefs and desires. In addition, from the perspective of this mathematical theory of freedom, if someone is not advancing in one’s life and/or one is not able to advance, then one is not free. This is because of the following: if any person is not advancing and/or able to advance, then there are certain conditions´-or-factors not enabling that person to advance. And hence, that person is imprisoned by certain circumstances leading him´-or-her not to advance. Thus, any person suffering from not being able to advance is in fact not free. All of this shows that it is appropriate to analyze freedom in terms of personal responsibility, acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires, and self-advancement, as the mathematical theory of freedom does.

This mathematical analysis of freedom accounts for important aspects of freedom. For example, it successfully expresses the fact that freedom is a matter of degree. From the perspective of this theory, freedom = personal responsibility x acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires x self-advancement. Hence, if one’s responsibility for one’s actions is maximum as well as one’s acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires, and one’s advancement are maximized, then one possesses maximum freedom, otherwise one has minimum freedom. This is how this theory of freedom successfully accounts for the fact that freedom is a matter of degree.

Moreover, let us refer to personal responsibility as PR, acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires as AB, and self-advancement as SA. The mathematical analysis of freedom holds that freedom = PR x AB x SA. Now, since freedom = PR x AB x SA, it mathematically follows that

freedom
_________ = SA,
PR x AB


freedom
_________ = AB, and
PR x SA


freedom
_________ = PR.
AB x SA

This mathematically implies that one could be free just in virtue of self-advancement,´-or-just in virtue of acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires,´-or-just due to personal responsibility. Therefore, different kinds of freedom are accounted for and implied by the mathematical theory of freedom, leading the way for accounting for the freedoms of most humans. This is a basic virtue of this theory because a successful theory of freedom should be able to account for the freedom of most people.

Some people are free because they are morally and legally responsible for their actions. Others are free because they are acting in accordance with their beliefs and desires, instead of being coerced to behave in light of the beliefs and desires of others. Yet others are free because they are advancing in life, although they might be acting in accordance with the beliefs and desires of others. Different kinds of freedom enable us to account for the fact that most people are free in a certain sense. Most people are free, although their freedoms could be different. If we reject the view that most human beings are free in a certain sense´-or-another, we will be neglecting an essential part of their humanity. This is why we can’t but hold that most people are in fact free.

The mathematical analysis of freedom is also successful in reconciling between human freedom and a deterministic world. And on the basis of this success, we are justified in inferring that this analysis of freedom is plausible. From the viewpoint of the mathematical theory of freedom, even if we live in a deterministic world where our actions are caused by natural causes and controlled by natural laws, it is still possible for humans to be free in case they are able to advance in life´-or-they are actually advancing in life. According to the mathematical model of freedom, freedom = personal responsibility x acting in light of one’s beliefs and desires x self-advancement. It follows that humans could be free if they are advancing in life through acquiring new abilities, new knowledge and/or higher societal status etc., even if their beliefs, desires and actions are ultimately caused by external causes and controlled by the laws of nature.

In other words, in a deterministic world where our actions are not caused by us but dictated by external causes and the natural laws, humans are still free because they usually advance in their lives. A deterministic world does not erase our freedom because freedom also resides in the ability to advance in life, which is attainable by most humans if not all humans. This is how the mathematical theory of freedom is successfully able to reconcile between freedom and a deterministic world, and thus solve the problem of how humans could be free although they are controlled by external causes and the laws of nature.




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