Four Conceptions of Freedom

Political Theory 38 (6):780-808 (2010)

Abstract
Contemporary political philosophers discuss the idea of freedom in terms of two distinctions: Berlin's famous distinction between negative and positive liberty, and Skinner and Pettit's divide between liberal and republican liberty. In this essay I proceed to recast the debate by showing that there are two strands in liberalism, Hobbesian and Lockean, and that the latter inherited its conception of civil liberty from republican thought. I also argue that the contemporary debate on freedom lacks a perspicuous account of the various conceptions of freedom, mainly because it leaves aside the classic contrast between natural liberty and civil liberty. Once we consider both the negative/positive distinction and the natural/civil one, we can classify all conceptions of freedom within four basic irreducible categories. In light of the resulting framework I show that there are two distinct conceptions of republican liberty, natural and civil, and that the former is coupled with an ideal of individual self-control
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DOI 10.1177/0090591710378589
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Montesquieu: Critique of Republicanism?Céline Spector - 2003 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 6 (1):38-53.

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