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Freedom.       §27. First then, it is carefully to be remembred, That Freedom
consists in the dependence of the Existence, or not Existence of any Action,
upon our Volition of it, and not in the dependence of any Action, or its
contrary, on our preference. A Man standing on a cliff, is at liberty to
leap twenty yards downwards into the Sea, not because he has a
power to do the contrary Action, which is to leap twenty yards
upwards, for that he cannot do: but he is therefore free, because he
has a power to leap, or not to leap. But if a greater force than his,
either holds him fast, or tumbles him down, he is no longer free
in that case: Because the doing, or forbearance of that particular
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Action, is no longer in his power. He that is a close Prisoner, in a
Room twenty foot-square, being at the North side of his Chamber,
is at liberty to walk twenty foot Southward, because he can walk,
or not walk it: But is not, at the same time, at liberty, to do the
contrary; i.e. to walk twenty foot Northward.
In this then consists Freedom, ( viz. ) in our being able to act, or
not to act, according as we shall chuse, or will.
Locke Hum II, 21, §27, pp. 247-248