Counterfactual success and negative freedom

Economics and Philosophy 23 (2):141-162 (2007)
Abstract
Recent theories of negative freedom see it as a value-neutral concept; the definition of freedom should not be in terms of specific moral values. Specifically, preferences or desires do not enter into the definition of freedom. If preferences should so enter then Berlin's problem that a person may enhance their freedom by changing their preferences emerges. This paper demonstrates that such a preference-free conception brings its own counter-intuitive problems. It concludes that these problems might be avoided if the description of the constraints which specify an agent's lack of freedom include the intentions of those who constrain the agents. (Published Online July 31 2007) Footnotes1 Versions of this paper have been read to a diverse set of academics in Bayreuth, Germany; Groningen, Netherlands; LSE, UK; and in Dublin, Ireland. We would like to thank participants at those sessions for their comments. We also thank anonymous referees, Ian Carter and Luc Bovens for their help in improving the paper.
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