Freedom of action

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Freedom of action is the freedom to act according to one's own will .

In German jurisprudence it means more specifically the basic right to be able to act within the framework of what is legally permissible .


A person's actions are considered free if they are able to do what they want , i.e. to follow their nature, interests and motives. If the intended actions cannot be carried out due to external or internal circumstances, freedom of action is restricted.

  • An internal limitation is e.g. B. paraplegia , which makes the intended action “climbing stairs” impossible. Similarly, mental illnesses such as phobias or compulsions limit this freedom.
  • Serving a prison sentence is an example of external restrictions because it prevents the prisoner from moving freely in society.


Constitutionally has the general freedom of action in Article 2. Section 1. Basic Law found expression: After the jurisprudence of the Federal Constitutional Court guarantees Art. 2 , para 1 GG, the general freedom of action, that includes any human behavior and provides a general. Collecting basic right is Accordingly far is the. Scope of application of the fundamental right . Are recorded u. a. the personal as well as the social area, the freedom in economic dealings, the contractual autonomy, the freedom to leave the country or the freedom from being burdened with public taxes.

The general freedom of action is restricted by the rights of others, the moral law and the constitutional order ( Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law). The rights of others protect both private and subjective public rights of third parties, but not all interests of the third party, only the legally secured interests worthy of protection.

Psychology / Pedagogy

The person who makes decisions or acts independently is the goal of all efforts by educators ( pedagogy ). That is generally accepted nowadays. The difficult question, however, is: how do what efforts achieve this goal?

On the one hand, the person who develops into an individual who is able to decide freely must have practiced precisely that - the free decision - in many situations of his childhood and youth. On the other hand, the individual must have had the opportunity to develop into a person in social contexts (e.g. attachment to a caregiver ) ( developmental psychology ). Ultimately, the status of responsible and free acting people in a society arises from this tension, namely from independent insights to act responsibly, but in social contexts and relationships.

Persian images on the subject

These pictures (allegedly from the 16th century) say a lot about the subject of freedom of action within the represented groups in a certain degree of detail of hands.

  • Image 1: A group of people celebrating, seated and standing in back rows with dancers, bell drum and a nay player (Persian long flute). The right hand of the red-robed man opposite the Shah is covered by bending off the extended sleeve on the floor. The person standing behind him has both crossed hands covered by his sleeves. At his side is a man with his left hand up his sleeve, etc.
  • Image 2: The figure in the background on the right is clearly holding her arms crossed and you can see the sleeves that are too long.

The painterly depiction of this particular detail is likely to have been a piece of clothing specially made in this way, which allows different interpretations.

Image 1: From the group on the left with people sitting and standing, several are wearing clothes with sleeves covering one or both hands.
Image 2: Mahmud of Ghazni , famous Sultan (in red). Note the figure (supposedly his servant) on the right in the background without any freedom of action

See also

Individual evidence

  1. BVerfGE 6, 32 .
  2. Source: The (anonymous?) Painter of pictures.