On the unavoidability of actions: Quentin Skinner, Thomas Hobbes, and the modern doctrine of negative liberty

Inquiry 44 (3):315 – 330 (2001)
During the past few decades, Quentin Skinner has been one of the most prominent critics of the ideas about negative liberty that have developed out of the writings of Isaiah Berlin. Among Skinner?s principal charges against the contemporary doctrine of negative liberty is the claim that the proponents of that doctrine have overlooked the putative fact that people can be made unfree to refrain from undertaking particular actions. In connection with this matter, Skinner contrasts the present-day theories with the prototypical liberal account of negative freedom propounded by Thomas Hobbes. The present essay challenges Skinner?s position both philosophically and exegetically. Because an agent can always elect to cease his activity as an agent, the ostensible inescapability of certain actions is not the same as the outright inescapability of certain instances of inaction. Once this point is properly recognized, the way is clear for a re-evaluation of Hobbes (and of Skinner on Hobbes).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/002017401316922435
 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: 23,280
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

56 ( #85,628 of 1,932,522 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #271,972 of 1,932,522 )

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.