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freedom to vs. freedom from
The 20th-century philosopher Isaiah Berlin proposed the famous distinction between “positive and negative liberty,” often described as “freedom to” vs. “freedom from”. The concept behind this distinction is that liberties are often (perhaps always?) in conflict: my neighbor’s freedom to build a backyard nuclear reactor is in direct conflict with my freedom from radiation poisoning.
This intersects with the ethics of risk when your freedom to do something that provides you with definite value conflicts with my freedom from some risk that may or may not come to pass. For example, if my neighbor with the backyard nuclear reactor solves the radiation shielding problem, there is still the chance of a meltdown. The ethics of risk asks how we can balance the very real benefit in terms of free electricity (and fun!) she gets from operating her reactor with the merely hypothetical (but catastrophic) risk of turning our neighborhood into an irradiated crater.