Explain Isaiah Berlin’s Distinction Between Negative and Positive Liberty Using Your Own Examples.

a) Explain Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between negative and positive liberty using your own examples.

The distinction between positive and negative freedom is similar to the distinction between action and passivity. In negative freedom it is not so much what you are free to actually do as what you are free to do in principle if you so desired. As Berlin puts it, it’s ‘the number of doors that are open to you’ whether you go through them or not is irrelevant to the distinction, restrictions on negative freedom are down to the restrictions on the number of choices available. Restrictions to negative freedom can only be originated by human intervention not by natural restrictions, this means something like poverty being a restriction on negative freedom depends on whether it has come about by human agency or not. For instance if it has come about due to a natural cause such as famine it is not a restriction on negative freedom but if it has come about because of war as this is a human intervention it is a restriction on negative freedom.
Positive freedom on the other hand is not so much a matter of how many doors are theoretically open but whether you can actually go through them, in other words the actions you are free to actually take. This ultimately refers to how much one is master of ones own actions, here Berlin brings in the notion of increasing positive freedom by overcoming ones less rational desires. That is Berlin proposes that there are internal obstacles to living to how we would wish to and to overcome them is to increase our positive freedom. For instance one might desire several more cream cakes, bars of chocolate, insert what ever food you most desire, however this desire is ultimately harmful to you in it makes you fat and you would ultimately be visited by all the diseases of obesity. To limit this desire to eat massive amounts of fattening food will ultimately keep thin fit and free of these diseases increasing your positive freedom, yes this...