Lena Halldenius
Lund University
This dissertation argues for an interpretation of liberty in terms of non-domination rather than non-interference, that non-domination can work as an independent criterion of political legitimacy, and that non-domination includes an approximation of equality in socioeconomic goods. In the first part, four theories of liberty and power – those of Kant, Locke, J. S. Mill and H. Taylor, and Wollstonecraft – are analyzed. It is concluded that Locke and Wollstonecraft, and Mill and Taylor partly, but not Kant, offer non-domination oriented conceptions of liberty. It is also tentatively argued that this has repercussions for their ideas on sex equality. In the second part a systematic discussion is offered in support of the three aims of the disseration. Non-domination is a socially radical, but not republican value. A distinction is made between liberty and freedom; “liberty” is normative and “freedom” empirical. One’s freedom can be restrained without one’s liberty being infringed, which typically would be the case where there is interference but no relation of dominance. Non-domination addresses asymmetrical relations of power and is inherently egalitarian. One’s liberty is infringed to the extent an agent has the power to interfere with one, whether interference actually takes place or not. Non-domination works as a twofold criterion of legitimacy: A legitimate state furthers non-domination between citizens under the circumstances of certain constitutional restrictions. The absence of vulnerability to the interference of others that non-domination requires, has to be institutionally secured. One aspect of dominance is the socioeconomic relation between people, and an approximation of socioeconomic equality will therefore be a political concern
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