‘Freedom’ is a fundamental political concept: contestations or endorsements of freedom-conceptions concern the fundamental normative orientation of sociopolitical orders. Focusing on 'freedom', this paper argues that the project of bringing about emancipatory sociopolitical orders is both aided by efforts at engineering fundamental political concepts as well as required by such ameliorative ambitions. I first argue that since the absence of ideology is a constituent feature of emancipatory orders, any attempt at bringing about emancipation should leverage genealogical approaches in order to debunk existing ideological freedom-concepts, which can occur only by exposing the discursive functions these have come to serve for the (re-)production of dominant power relations. I then suggest that establishing and sustaining an alternative, ideology-free conception of ‘freedom’ is a steeper task. Ensuring widespread uptake of any ameliorated concept is contingent on effective change in the relevant social environment. Where fundamental political concepts such as 'freedom' are concerned, effective intervention in the relevant social environment requires radical sociopolitical change. But if such change can be brought about and enables the widespread uptake of an ‘improved’ freedom-concept, the concept's content comes to reflect changed social facts, thereby stabilising the particular emancipatory sociopolitical order which has newly arisen.
Keywords Freedom  Ideology  Conceptual Engineering  Critical Theory  Emancipation  Amelioration
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12754
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Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - New York: Basic Books.

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