Freedom and its unavoidable trade‐off

Analytic Philosophy 65 (1):22–36 (2024)
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In the debate on how we ought to define political freedom, some definitions are criticized for implying that no one can ever be free to perform any action. In this paper, I show how the possibility of freedom depends on a definition that finds an appropriate balance between absence of interference and protection against interference. To assess the possibility of different conceptions of freedom, I consider the trade-offs they make between these two dimensions. I find that pure negative freedom is clearly possible. Republican freedom might also be possible, though its protection requirement is too vague for a definitive verdict. Finally, the recently proposed ‘freedom as independence’ is impossible since it is an attempt to avoid the unavoidable trade-off.

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Lars Moen
University of Vienna

Citations of this work

Republican Freedom and Liberal Neutrality.Lars Moen - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 26 (2):325–348.
Republicanism and moralised freedom.Lars J. K. Moen - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (4):423-440.

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References found in this work

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.
Republicanism: a theory of freedom and government.Philip Pettit (ed.) - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press.
An essay on rights.Hillel Steiner - 1994 - Oxford, UK ;: Blackwell.
Just freedom: a moral compass for a complex world.Philip Pettit - 2014 - New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

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