Overall freedom and constraint

Inquiry 44 (2):131 – 147 (2001)
Ian Carter argues against what he calls the ?specific freedom thesis?, which claims that in asking whether our society or any individual is free, all we need or can intelligibly concern ourselves with is their freedom to do this or that specific thing. Carter claims that issues of overall freedom are politically and morally important and that, in valuing freedom as such, liberals should be committed to a measure of freedom overall. This paper argues against Carter?s further claim that rejection of the specific freedom thesis requires rejection of morally based determinations of degrees of overall freedom. Using a concept of freedom as a capacity to pursue one?s interests, it is argued that the value of freedom overall is not reducible to the value of specific freedoms, and that conditions of action can be determined as constraints only within the context of their impact on freedom overall. Taking the case of coercive proposals, it is argued that we must evaluate the morality of the circumstances in which conditional proposals are made if we are to weigh the opportunities and constraints contained in the proposal to determine whether its recipient suffers a loss of overall freedom. We must therefore appeal to values other than that of liberty itself to determine degrees of liberty overall, which we require in turn to determine whether threats or offers are coercive.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/002017401750261545
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,890
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

22 ( #130,389 of 1,725,305 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,101 of 1,725,305 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.