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Stallman, Nussbaum, and Sen: putting "freedom" in context by libreplanet

Luis Villa

Our movement rarely talks about freedom with much philosophical nuance. In this talk, I try to put some flesh on the bones of freedom by giving an introduction to Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum's capability approach, and applying it to software. The capability approach (sometimes called the human development approach) is a framework for thinking about human freedom that, since its development in the early 90s, has been applied across a broad range of philosophical, economic, and policy problems. Focused on what options a person has to reach their goals, it is well-suited for understanding where we succeed - and fail! - at actually freeing people.

Talk attendees should come away with a more nuanced understanding of software freedom, how to talk about it with others, and where to focus their coding energy to best increase human freedom.

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