Ignorance, Incompetence and the Concept of Liberty

Journal of Political Philosophy 15 (4):428–446 (2007)
Abstract
What is liberty, and can it be measured? In this paper I argue that the only way to have a liberty metric is to adopt an account of liberty with specific and controversial features. In particular, I argue that we can make sense of the idea of a quantity of liberty only if we are willing to count certain purely agential constraints, such as ignorance and physical incompetence, as obstacles to liberty in general. This spells trouble for traditional ‘negative’ accounts, against which I argue directly. My aim is to establish the following somewhat surprising claim: that if a political theory is to contain a principle regarding the protection, maximisation, or equalisation of some liberty, it must concern itself⎯on pain of conceptual incoherence⎯with the positive preconditions (in addition to the negative preconditions) of that liberty’s effective exercise.
Keywords Freedom  Liberty  Freedom Measurement
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9760.2007.00289.x
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
References found in this work BETA
Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Harvard University Press.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Value Neutrality and the Ranking of Opportunity Sets.Michael Garnett - 2016 - Economics and Philosophy 32 (1):99-119.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Power Of Ignorance.Lorraine Code - 2004 - Philosophical Papers 33 (3):291-308.
Liberty, Beneficence, and Involuntary Confinement.Joan C. Callahan - 1984 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 9 (3):261-294.
Liberty: One Concept Too Many?Eric Nelson - 2005 - Political Theory 33 (1):58 - 78.
Non-Domination as a Moral Ideal.Christian Nadeau - 2003 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 6 (1):120-134.
Culpability and Ignorance.Gideon Rosen - 2002 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):61–84.
Genetic Ignorance, Moral Obligations and Social Duties.Tuija Takala & Matti Häyry - 2000 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (1):107 – 113.
Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
499 ( #3,878 of 2,202,423 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
114 ( #992 of 2,202,423 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature