Liberty as Welfare The basecamp counterpart of positive freedom

Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 18 (2):133-165 (2012)
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L.T.Hobhouse's concept of liberty--the concept at the heart of new liberalism--is based on T.H. Green's positive freedom. However, this paper demonstrates that the former has its own distinct nature and can be usefully defined as 'liberty as welfare'. In a context of renewed interest in the link between liberty and ability/personal development, scholars have looked back to Green's positive liberty. But the complex nature of latter has led to scholarly disagreement about its definitive features. The paper argues that Hobhouse's liberty has achieved what neither of Green's two liberties, juristic and true (or positive), have: accommodate concerns with personal development and social justice in a 'primary' concept of freedom. It is demonstrated that only Green's positive freedom, as opposed to his juristic freedom, internalises commitment to development and social justice, but for a number of reasons reviewed in the paper, it is not a primary concept. The first section of the paper examines and criticises Green's dismissal of juristic freedom and outlines the ways in which this concept could have been more viable. The second section demonstrates how Hobhouse's liberty achieves what Green's juristic freedom could have but did not--accommodate personal development and social justice in a concept of liberty that remains an opportunity concept



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