Nagel on Freedom

by practicalspactical

Because we’re always acting from within our circumstances (motivated by subjective inclination and external causation) true freedom, a freedom for the higher objective self-being, is elusive. However, by choosing new motivations based on more external-objective views, we can eliminate some of our biases and move to a sphere of closer freedom.

Of course, when we externalize and act based on the motivations of a temporal-neutral self, we still have a master — and when we externalize beyond our selves and act based on universal rules, again, we still have a master. The difference might be that once we structure these other selves and the motivations they implicate, it becomes possible to choose our master — choosing the present over the prudent, choosing the universal over the local —

That choice, then, to know that cigarettes are bad and decide to smoke anyway (or  to decide not to smoke) is a free one to extent that it is fairly well-informed.