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Re: Release plans

From: Thomas Lord
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:07:33 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060808)

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
Alan Mackenzie writes:

 > I think it's more important for people actually to be free than to be
 > aware of it.

Freedom is about choice; choice requires awareness of alternatives and
that you are able to choose them.  IMO, you cannot "actually be free"
without being aware of it.

That's too simple.

Hopefully one's freedoms are larger in scope than one's awareness  can
fully grasp.   That is, we (hope to be) always more free than we can
ever know -- we always have only partial knowledge of our possible

Instead, we're free to do anything in the intersection of that those
choices we can *discover* from our current state with those
choices that are physically available to us.

Of course, even the question of "what choices can we *discover*"
doesn't have a static, classical answer.   For example, to discover
choice A might preclude discovering choice B and vice versa --
so, before we see either choice A or B, where are we exactly?
Free to A or free to B but not both in one sense.   In another
sense not free to A or B until we become aware of one or the
other.   Simplistic "rational actor" theories of "freedom" don't
cut it except as approximations.

All this highly abstract ethical theory is a cul de sac:  pretty
to drive around and have a look at but, then to get anywhere
else, you have to leave and find another street.

In a civic context, the question is simpler:  a condition
of liberty is one in which the civil order doesn't impose
an obstacle to a given choice or to discovering that choice.

The conclusion is the same, though, regarding dynamic
loading in GNU Emacs.  The civil order precludes doing
so.  Users are deprived of a freedom that could otherwise
be trivially afforded them by virtue of a deliberate effort
to achieve exactly that effect.


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