Regarding the availability of options...
I have not been able to take any formal philosophy classes so far, but I am lucky to have friends with whom I can debate at lunch. One abstract question that I thought was interesting, and I do wonder if it is a common one in philosophy, is whether or not it is necessarily better or necessarily worse to have multiple options as opposed to one option.
One can easily see that a student early in life may prefer to be able to study anything that he chooses instead of being forced into one option of subject to study. At the same time, there are instances in which the ethical pressure brought upon by the availability of options may force a person into an unpleasant internal conflict that, had the other options not been available, would otherwise have been avoided. For example, a nation that changes its military policy to one allowing women into the military, during the times of a demanding war, may distress some women who had not previously felt the obligation (for the purpose of the example, a woman in the country is not forced by draft, but is only offered the option of serving her country).
In this sense, I suppose that one could put both dilemmas in terms of liberty. While I consider the scenario of the young student, limited to only one subject to study, to be one of restricted negative liberty, the woman who enters the military reluctantly out of feelings of obligation appears to be acting under restricted positive liberty.
My knowledge of the liberty dichotomy is limited to an entry from the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I am curious to know if the subject of available options has been interpreted in different terms by philosophers. Thank you.
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