Freedom as a political ideal

Social Philosophy and Policy 20 (2):307-334 (2003)


I shall assume that a well-ordered state is one that promotes the freedom of its subjects. My question is what is the kind of freedom that the state ought to promote? This question is different from the question of what freedom is. It might be thought, for example, that freedom consists in the autonomous pursuit of valuable goals and projects, but that the state cannot directly promote this freedom. On this view, the state would not be able to make its citizens free. However, it might be able to do things that make it easier or more likely for them to be free. The freedom that the state promotes might be merely an aspect of or a condition for the freedom that really matters

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Stephen Wall
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

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