Liberty and leviathan

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (1):131-151 (2005)
Abstract
Hobbes made a distinctive contribution to the discussion of freedom on two fronts. He persuaded later, if not immediate, successors that it is only the exercise of a power of interference that reduces people’s freedom, not its (unexercised) existence - not even its existence in an arbitrary, unchecked form. Equally, he persuaded them that the exercise of a power of interference always reduces freedom in the same way, whether it occurs in a republican democracy, purportedly on a ‘non-arbitrary’ basis, or under a dictatorial, arbitrary regime. But the basis on which Hobbes maintained those two propositions was very different from any that successors would have found plausible. This article explores the idiosyncratic principles that led Hobbes to develop his influential point of view. Key Words: freedom • Hobbes • liberalism • libertarianism • liberty.
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