Liberty Worth the Name: Locke on Free Agency (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)
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This podcast is an audio recording of Professor Rosefeldt's talk - 'Closing the Gap' - at the Aristotelian Society on 22 February Jules Holroyd was a lecturer in the philosophy department at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests are in moral psychology, political philosophy and feminist philosophy. Her recent research has focused on how our models of responsibility and agency might be responsive to the ndings of empirical psychology.
She is working on a Leverhulme funded project with psychologists at the University of Sheffield, investigating how moral responses - such as blame - might in uence the expression of implicit bias. James Wilson integrates philosophy with other relevant disciplines, such as epidemiology, economics and political theory to explore conceptual and practical challenges in the sustainable and equitable improvement of human wellbeing.
He focuses particularly on public health ethics, and the ownership and governance of ideas and information. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Otago and his doctorate from the University of Arizona. His current research focuses on the measurement of consciousness and the use of neuroimaging to ascribe consciousness to brain-damaged patients.
This podcast is an audio recording of Professor Bayne's talk - 'Gist! Fiona Woollard is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton. She works in normative and applied ethics, the philosophy of sex and the philosophy of pregnancy and motherhood. He has written many essays on indexicality, perception, memory and imagination.
His work has lately focused on philosophical and empirical issues concerning noetic or metacognitive feelings such as presence, familiarity and confidence.
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Essai sur la dynamique cognitive Mind in motion. What is perception? Truth and Success with Pascal Engel Routledge, Benjamin Sachs is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of St. He has worked on issues in distributive justice, health care justice, coercion, normative ethics, environmental ethics, and the ethics of research on human subjects.
He is currently interested in animal ethics and in addition is planning to write several papers that would together constitute an argument for contractarianism. He studied law and philosophy in Tel Aviv University, where he earned his B. He earned his Ph. David works primarily in moral, political, and legal philosophy. She is currently working on a collection of essays, Spinoza on Learning to Live Together.
She is author of The Contents of Visual Experience Oxford University Press, , and numerous articles in the philosophy of perception. Recent papers discuss the varieties of influences on perceptual experiences from cognition, affect, and learning, their impact on the epistemic role of perception, and the nature of belief. He has been at Bristol since He is currently working on his second monograph, on contemporary metaethics, concerning the role of desire in motivation. Pearson's talk - 'What are Sources of Motivation? His research focuses on the intersection between the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy of mind, action and ethics.
His main research interests are in the philosophy of mind and in metaphysics. He has published articles on temporal experience, intentionalism about conscious experience, indexical thoughts, the metaphysics of time, and emergent properties. He is currently adding the finishing touches to a monograph on the experience of time and change, and also writing a couple of papers on the individuation of concepts.
In the future he plans to write more about the nature of conscious experience. Prosser's talk - 'Why are Indexicals Essential? His research is mainly in the philosophy of mind, with a particular interest in philosophical questions about the nature of temporal experience, memory, and our ability to think about time. His research has focused on ethical theory, the philosophy of language, and epistemology.
Recent papers have been on the meaning of moral terms, the semantics of deontic modals, and the nature of epistemic normativity. He is one of the lead authors of Philosophy for Everyone Routledge Her research is in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, with particular interests in the mental causation debate, the categories of being, and causation, laws and powers. Recent papers are on the ontology of the mental causation debate, the subset account of property realization, and tropes and laws.
She is leader of the philosophy of mind work group within the Durham Emergence Project, which is an interdisciplinary research initiative involving collaboration between philosophers and physicists, made possible through the support of the John Templeton Foundation. Dominic Gregory teaches Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. He has written on the logic, epistemology, and metaphysics of modality, but his work has lately focused upon various questions concerning distinctively sensory representations such as pictures and sensory mental images.
His recent book "Showing, Sensing, and Seeming" OUP develops a general account of the nature of the contents belonging to those representations: the book contains detailed philosophical examinations of sensory mental imagery and pictorial representation, and of memory, photography, and analogous nonvisual phenomena. He works in political philosophy and the philosophy of agency, where his research concerns a number of issues related to the idea of freedom. Recent papers are on the nature of autonomy, the idea of human unpredictability, coercion, and the relationship between freedom and agency.
Her research interests are in Epistemology, Ethics, and Moral Psychology. Recently, she has written about higher-order evidence, moral testimony, moral motivation, and the nature of moral praise and blame. His work centers on topics in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. He is interested in the extent to which medieval and early modern approaches to metaphysical issues might shed light on contemporary debates over the nature of substances, properties, and relations especially causal relations , and truthmakers for modal truths. Her research is predominantly in aesthetics and focuses on issues concerning the representational arts.
She has published papers on topics such as the nature of depiction, how representational works of art express emotions and other mental states, and what it is for something to be an artwork. Her current research addresses issues such as the nature of fiction, the interpretation of works of fiction, and what styles and genres are and their effects on the interpretation and evaluation of works of fiction and other representational artworks.
He was an undergraduate at Cambridge and a graduate at Oxford, where he wrote his doctorate under the supervision of Michael Dummett. Tamar Gendler is the Vincent J. Much of her recent philosophical work has focused a cluster of issues surrounding the relations between explicit and implicit attitudes, particularly in the context of habit, self-regulation, and implicit bias; other current interests include general questions about philosophical methodology, and a number of specific issues that arise from thinking about the relation between imagination and belief. Her earlier philosophical work addressed various topics in metaphysics and epistemology including conceivability and possibility, perceptual experience, personal identity, and the methodology of thought experiment.
A collection of some of her papers was published under the title Intuition, Imagination and Philosophical Methodology Oxford, Her recent work focuses on the relationship between intuitive knowledge attribution and knowledge itself; it aims to bridge the gap between empirical work on mental state attribution and theoretical work in epistemology. Andrews, Cornell and Oxford. She has published in Ancient Greek philosophy, especially the ethics, epistemology and metaphysics of Plato, and is the co-founder of the Yorkshire Ancient Philosophy Network.
She was an Einstein Fellow at the Einstein Forum, which enabled her to begin work in Indian Buddhist philosophy, and subsequently held an Anniversary Lectureship from the University of York. Her book on metaphysics as ethics in Indian Buddhism appeared in Her interests include the nature of pleasure and reason and their respective places in a well-lived life; the implications of metaphysics for ethics; and the nature of knowledge, our striving for it, and the effects this has on our character.
His research was originally on the philosophy of the early Wittgenstein, but his interests rapidly turned to ancient philosophy. His doctoral thesis was on pre-Socratic atomism.
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He was a research fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge, before being appointed to a lectureship in Sheffield in His book on principle-of-insufficient-reason arguments in ancient philosophy was published by Blackwell in under the title Indifference Arguments. His research interests also include various topics in contemporary metaphysics.
He joined the faculty of Philosophy in , having taught previously at the University of Michigan. His areas of research include metaphysics, epistemology and moral philosophy. Her main interests are in moral philosophy and philosophy of criminal law. He has published widely in moral and political philosophy, in particular on issues in contemporary metaethics, the history of ethical thought, and matters of life and death.
He has held a position at Birkbeck University of London since He works mainly in philosophy of language and logic, and in the history of analytic philosophy Frege with forays into metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics.
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Gary Kemp is a senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Alan Millar received his first degree from the University of Edinburgh and then a Ph. D from the University of Cambridge. He was appointed to the University of Stirling in , becoming a Professor of Philosophy in He has been Professor Emeritus at Stirling since In he was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
His main areas of interest are epistemology and the philosophy of mind and language, though he has made occasional contributions to the history of ethics that deal with ideas of Joseph Butler and John Stuart Mill. Elizabeth Barnes has been a senior lecturer at Leeds since Her main research interests are in metaphysics and ethics.
Her research focuses on theories of practical reasons, the relation of reasons and values, various problems in normative ethics, and philosophy of action. She is currently working on a project on the moral significance of intentions funded by the British Academy. Augustine, thone entiteled of the Predestiuacion of saintes, thother of perseueraunce unto thende all faythfully Trans.
Austin, Bill R. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, Ayers, Michael.
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London: Methuen, Bacovein, Helen. The Way of the Pilgrim. Bailey, Barry. Nashville: Abingdon, Baillie, Donald Macpherson The Theology of the Sacraments, and Other Papers. With a biographical essay by John Baillie. London: Faber and Faber, Bain, A. The Emotions and the Will. NY: D. Appleton and Co. Balaban, Oded, and Anan Erev. NY: P. Lang, Balslev, Anindita Niyogi, and J. Mohanty, Eds. Religion and Time. Leiden; NY: E. Brill, Bangs, Nathan NY: Printed for the author by J. Totten, Daniel Haskel Barad, Judith A.
Thomas Aquinas. Barker, Eileen, ed. On Freedom: a Centenary Anthology. Barth, Karl Church Dogmatics. Edinburgh: T. Clark, Edited by Dietrich Braun. NY: The Seabury Press, The Theology of John Calvin. Goeffrey W. The Humanity of God. See special section on his name. Edited by Don E. Saliers from the translation of Sara F. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, Theological Existence Today! Birch Hoyle. London: Hodder and Stoughton, Christ and Adam: Man and Humanity in Romans 5. NY: Harper, Basden , Paul. Thesis, Basinger, David, and Randall Basinger, eds. Bauckham, Richard, Editor.
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, Baxter, Richard. London: Epworth, Baylies, Nicholas Montpelier, VT: Printed by E. Walton, Beabout, Gregory R. Milwaukee: Marquette Univ. Beaty, Michael D. Christian Theism and the Problems of Philosophy. Notre Dame: Univ. Beccaria, C. An Essay on Crimes and Punishments. Albany: W. Lettle and Co. Becker, Ernest. The Structure of Evil. NY: Macmillan, The Denial of Death. NY: Free Press, Beilby, James K. Eddy, eds. Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views: G.
Boyd, D. Hunt, W. Belgum, Eunice. Knowing Better: An Account of Akrasia. NY: Garland, Bell, J. Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics. Bellamy, Joseph Paul, the Whole of the Bible, and Common Sense? Boston: Printed and sold by Edes and Gill, Belnap, Nuel D. Benett, William. Oxford: The Clarendon press, Ben-Menahem, Yemima. Benn, Stanley. A Theory of Freedom. Bennett, Jonathan. The Act Itself. Oxford: Oxford Univ.
Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Theory of Legislation. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. Originally published in Theory of Fictions. Edited by C. London: Roudedge and Kegan Paul, Berdiaev, Nikolai Slavery and Freedom.
Reginald Michael French b. NY: C. Bergmann, Fritjoh. On Being Free. Bergson, Henri Authorized translation by F. Pogson d. London: S. Sonnenschein; NY: Macmillan, London: G. Berkeley, George Berkouwer, Gerrit Cornelis. Man: The Image of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, Divine Election. Faith and Justification.
Grand Raipds, MI: Eerdmans, Faith and Perseverance. Faith and Sanctification. The Providence of God. Berlin, Isaiah, Sir. Edited by Henry Hardy. Historical Inevitability. Four Essays on Liberty. Bernard, of Clairvaux, Saint The Treatise of St. Del Libero Arbitrio. Bologna: G. Romagnoli, Grazia e Libero Arbitrio. Bernardo di Chiaravalle. Padova: Liviana, Editor Albino Babolin.
The Love of God. James M. Portland, OR: Multnomah, Berndtson, Carl Arthur Emanuel. Chicago, IL: Univ. Bernstein, Mark. Lincoln: Univ.
Bertocci, Peter Anthony Free-will, Responsibility, and Grace. NY: Abingdon Press, Best, W. Eternity and Time. Free Grace versus Free-will. Blackwell, Albert L. Chico, CA: Scholars Press, Friedrich Schleiermacher Blair, Samuel Philadelphia: Printed by B. Franklin for the author, Blakey, Robert Edinburgh: Printed for A. Black, London: H. Nichol, A list of works on logic, alphabetically arranged: p. Bledsoe, Albert Taylor Philadelphia: H.
Hooker, Edwards, Jonathan Blitz, Mark. Martin Heidegger : Sein und Zeit. Boardman, Henry Augustus Philadelphia: W. Young, printer Bock, Kenneth Elliott. Human Nature Mythology. Urbana: Univ. Bockshammer, Gustav Ferdinand On the Freedom of the Human Will. Andover: Gould and Newman, Boettner, Loraine The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. Eerdmans, ; 6th Bohm, David.
The Special Theory of Relativity. NY: W. Benjamin, Bohman, Svante. Boice, James M. Our Sovereign God. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, Boisen, Anton T. The Exploration of the Inner World. Willett and Clark, Bok, C. Star Wormwood. NY: Knopf, Bok, Hilary. Freedom and Responsibility. Boller, Paul F. Dallas: SMU Press, Bonar, Horatius, ed. Wilmington, DE: Classic-a-month Books, ?
In volume one of Opera Omnia. Quaracchi, Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Way to Freedom. Edited by Eberhard Bethge. NY: The Macmillan Company, Cost of Discipleship. Life Together. John Doberstein. Boothe, Stephen Richard. Bounds, E. Power Through Prayer.
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Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Bourke, Vernon. Will in Western Thought. NY: Sheed and Ward, Boutroux, Emile The Contingency of the Laws of Nature. Authorized translation by Fred Rothwell. Bouyer, Louis. The Spirituality of the N. NY: Seabury, Bowes, Pratima. Consciousness and Freedom: Three Views. Boyd, Gregory A. Trinity and Process. NY: Peter Lang, The Myth of the Blueprint. Boyle, Joseph M. Free Choice: a Self-Referential Argument. Notre Dame, IN: Univ. Brabant, Frank Herbert.
John Bampton, Canon of Salisbury. London; NY: Longmans, Green, Brady, Jules M. Braine, David. Bramhall, John The Works of John Bramhall. Oxford: John Henry Parker. A Defence of True Liberty. Crook, London. Castigations of Mr. Hobbes, Bramlett, Perry C. Lewis: Life at the Center. Macon, GA: Peake Road, Brams, Steven J. Superior Beings. NY: Springer Verlag, Brand, David C. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, Brand, Myles, ed.
The Nature of Human Action. Glenview, IL: Intending and Acting. Brandon, Samuel George Frederick Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Faces of Intention. Intentions, Plans and Practical Reason. Bratt, John H. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Bray, Charles Bray, John S. Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, Theodore Beza Braybrooke, D. Breer, Paul E. Brehm, Jack Williams. A Theory of Psychological Reactance. NY: Academic Press, Bricklin, Jonathan. Bringsjord, Selmer. Briscoe, D. Where is God? Illustrated by Sally Marinin. Broad, Charlie Dunbar. Religion, Philosophy and Psychical Research.
Determinism, Indeterminism, and Libertarianism. Cambridge, England: The Univ. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume Brom, Luco Johan van den. Kampen: Kok, Brooks, Richard A. Voltaire and Leibniz. Geneve: Librairie Droz, Brooks, Robert E. Free-will: an Ultimate Illusion: Problems and Opportunities. Bruening, eds. Bruner, Jerome. Actual Minds , Possible Worlds. Brunswik, Egon. The Conceptual Framework of Psychology.
Chicago: Bryant, M. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press, Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Ronald G. The Miracle of Dialogue. Buckingham, Thomas c Edited by Bartholomew R. De la Torre. Buis, Harry. Historic Protestantism and Predestination. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, Selected, translated, and introduced by Schubert M. NY: Meridian Books, Faith and Understanding. Edited with an introd.
Liberty: Positive and Negative | Cato Unbound
Translated by Louise Pettibone Smith. Glauben und Verstehen. Bunge, Mario Augusto. Causality and Modern Science. NY: Dover Publications, Burhans , Daniel Burnham, Frederic B. Louis, and San Francisco and sponsored by Trinity Institute. Buroker, Jill Vance. Dordrecht, Holland; Boston, U. Burtness, James H. Consequences: Morality, Ethics, and the Future. Bussey, Gertrude Carman Typical Recent Conceptions of Freedom.
Greenfield, MA: Press of T. Cadier, Jean Translated from the French by O. London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, Cairns, William d. We would then, when studying economic history, be asking whether more wealth led to more wealth. When everything good or desirable is freedom, nothing good or desirable is distinguishable from anything else good or desirable. Moreover, their formulation confuses, in my opinion, the relationship between government and freedom. Wealth may be increased indefinitely, but freedom, once it is enjoyed equally by all, cannot be continuously increased.
That is evidently true of people living under centralized despotic states; however, aristocrats may exercise local tyranny over others, their serfs or slaves, but enjoy their own freedom if they live under otherwise law-governed regimes. Inequality of freedom was a central target of classical liberal campaigns, which sought equal freedom for all; classical liberal campaigners against serfdom and slavery stressed the injustice of denying equal freedom, and sometimes the psychological coarsening of both slave and master caused by the lack of freedom.
Morally it is the destruction of every basis and principle of religious or positive decency — the family, property, social harmony, humanitarian aspirations. Politically it is slavishness, the degradation of the people, the disease of bureaucratism, the languishing of patriotism, the division of the countryside into feudal domains, each with its own penal system, its own seat of judgment, beyond the reach of police and courts. The presumption of innocence equally puts the burden of proof on the one who wishes to restrict the freedom of another; it is an impossible task to falsify all possible charges against an accused, but the accused can demand verification of the charges lodged against him.
There can be a presumption that I should not interfere with another, to be overcome only by a compelling reason to interfere, but how can there be a presumption that that other should have an ability or an asset? This suggests a radical difference between freedom and wealth, such that to call them both freedom generates confusion, rather than clarity.
Freedom is what you enjoy when you stop people from coercing other people; but coercion is not what you enjoy or get when you stop people from freeing other people. Freedom is an absence of constraints from other people, not a presence of something else. We can try a simple thought experiment. It will test intuitions, but I cannot imagine any serious person taking the test and not agreeing that there is something very queer about conflating wealth and freedom.
Consider the life of the average German in and in Or, to make it even clearer, consider Germans in and The later Germans had Volkswagens and Autobahns; they had telephones and could even travel through the air; indeed, they had access to the looted wealth of the Jews. There was a one-party dictatorship; the press was censored; movement was restricted; and people lived in fear, fear of the exercise of arbitrary power.
The same or very similar language about not being subject to the arbitrary will of others is found in Kant, Constant, Spencer, Hayek, and many other liberals, coupled with a corresponding unrestricted freedom of action within the limits of equal laws and equal justice. For them, there is no liberty outside of institutions. To the principles and precepts of Liberalism the prodigious material progress of the age was largely due.
Freed from the vexatious meddling of governments, men devoted themselves to their natural task, the bettering of their condition, with the wonderful results which surround us. But it now seems that its material comfort has blinded the eyes of the present generation to the cause which made it possible. The causal link, between freedom, on the one hand, and wealth, on the other, was occluded, and the goal became merely to promote good things, with no attention to the distinctive character of freedom. For what, in the popular apprehension and in the apprehension of those who effected them, were the changes made by Liberals in the past?
They were mitigations of evils which had directly or indirectly been felt by large classes of citizens, as causes of misery or as hindrances to happiness. And since, in the minds of most, a rectified evil is equivalent to an achieved good, these measures came to be thought of as so many positive benefits; and the welfare of the many came to be conceived alike by Liberal statesmen and Liberal voters as the aim of Liberalism. Hence the confusion. The gaining of a popular good, being the external conspicuous trait common to Liberal measures in earlier days then in each case gained by a relaxation of restraints , it has happened that popular good has come to be sought by Liberals, not as an end to be indirectly gained by relaxations of restraints, but as the end to be directly gained.
The elimination of liberalism as a coherent intellectual and political force did not turn out well in the twentieth century. Tom G. IX, no. The man who barely abstains from violating either the person, or the estate, or the reputation of his neighbours, has surely very little positive merit. He fulfills, however, all the rules of what is peculiarly called justice, and does every thing which his equals can with propriety force him to do, or which they can punish him for not doing.
We may often fulfil all the rules of justice by sitting still and doing nothing. Thomas G. West Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Using terms that Isaiah Berlin made famous — but acknowledging a break with his usage — Jason Brennan and David Schmidtz begin from a distinction between negative and positive liberty. You have the negative liberty to do X just when no one opposes your doing it, whatever opposition consists in; you have the positive or effective liberty to do X when, in addition, you have the capacity to do X, whatever capacity is thought to require.
They denounce the myth, as they see it, that these two conceptions of liberty pair off with two conceptions of the job of government, respectively right-wing and left-wing. Do the authors think that the job of government, then, is to promote better lives for people directly: this, rather than promoting either form of liberty? It appears not, for at one point they give expression to a deep skepticism about government that would be inconsistent with assigning any such grand goal.
What goals might we assign to government, then, assuming that we do not embrace anarchism and despair of government altogether? By recourse to empirical research. It transpires, then, that the main claim made by Brennan and Schmidtz is that in assigning a job or role to government — a set of guarantees that it should underwrite, a set of policies that it should pursue — we have to rely on empirical research.
And with that claim I am wholly in agreement. But while I agree strongly with Brennan and Schmidtz that the project of policy-making and institution-building — and by extension the project of normative political argument — ought to be informed by empirical research and modeling, I cannot see why they think this undermines philosophical argument about the merits of adopting one or another conception of freedom as a primary concern of government.
Do they think that empirical knowledge alone is going to determine what policies or programs — in their terms, what guarantees — government should underwrite? Perhaps what they mean to suggest, however, is that as we assess the policies of a government, or prescribe for the policies it should implement, we need only form views about the desirability of now this policy, now that, without any single abstract criterion of assessment. Their claim may just be that there are a myriad features that matter in policy-making and that in recommending a particular policy we may draw, case by case, on whichever of that legion of properties seem relevant, refusing to be tied to invoking anything so general as freedom.
This pragmatic point of view will have attractions for many people but I think there is good reason to resist it, or at least to think that it does not provide an adequate view of what political assessment and argument require. When we engage in political evaluation, we do so in the course of deliberating with our fellow citizens — in actuality or imagination — about the respective merits of the institutions and policies we are recommending.
But that means that we are required to find a basis of evaluation that will make sense to them generally, assuming that we are not just addressing a particular coterie of interest or opinion. And, more strongly again, it means that we are required to find a basis of evaluation that will make general sense, as a matter of general acceptance; no one will think that it is irrelevant or think that others will think it is irrelevant, and so on.
To aspire to address the full membership of the society in the political recommendations presented is implicitly to claim that there are reasons that no one can dismiss which argue in support of those recommendations; people may vary in the weight assigned to those reasons, but no one can regard them as irrelevant. The reason is simple. The more numerous the reasons invoked in public debate, the less manifest it is going to be that they are reasons that truly count as relevant across different sectors of society.
That is why there is such pressure to find common starting points for public discussions in a few relatively abstract, and presumptively irresistible considerations or values. What values are going to available for deployment in this role? One value that may sometimes be available is the higher-order consideration that a policy is a good compromise, suiting this group for one set of reasons, that other group for other reasons, and so on.
But such values can only be relevant under circumstances of fortuitous convergence. The values that will make a stronger claim for consideration are routine, purportedly irresistible values like welfare or prosperity or equality or justice — or, of course, freedom. The debate about how best to understand one or another value of this kind, then, will inevitably connect with the question of how important that value is in the assessment of policies and how important it ought to be as a criterion of policy-making. Let me conclude with some observations on why I am attracted to the idea of freedom as non-domination; this may be the best way of explaining my point of view.
I think that any value that is put forward as an important criterion in evaluating political institutions and programs ought to satisfy a number of constraints. Freedom as non-domination is the sort of freedom you enjoy when you are not subject to the will of another agent or agency. You are your own man or woman; you live on your own terms — you are sui juris , in the old Latin phrase.
This ideal has deep roots in our culture and, on the face of it, no one is likely to deny its political relevance. I think that the idea of freedom in this sense is very interesting and that it has been lost to contemporary consciousness, partly because of the suggestion that negative and positive freedom exhaust the field. It is not equivalent to positive freedom, since it requires the absence of domination, as negative freedom demands the absence of interference.
And it is not equivalent to negative freedom, for two reasons. If freedom as non-domination engages me, however, that is not just because of its interesting conceptual architecture. An even more important consideration is that there is promising work to be done on elaborating its political implications. What would it be for a constitution and state to promote freedom as non-domination? This work, needless to say, has to be guided by empirical investigation and modeling and on that count Brennan and Schmidtz can have no objection.
But would they still think the guiding question misguided, on the ground that it does not separate out analytical and policy-making issues? Philip Pettit is the Laurance S. Jackson, F. Pettit, et al. Ethical Particularism and Patterns. Hooker and M. Lovett, F. Pettit Pettit, P. Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government. They want to question the assumption that liberty, in any of its central senses, should be promoted by government at all, either directly or indirectly. Philosophers and political theorists, they argue, have been waylaid by the discussion inaugurated in its modern form by Isaiah Berlin that public valorization of liberty in some of its senses is dangerous, and that we should therefore stick to promoting alternative negative conceptions.
That project, the authors think, is to replace the difficult task of examining the real effects of social policies — whether aimed at promoting positive or negative freedom or some hybrid — with the idle musings of armchair philosophy. This is an interesting project, and I applaud the call for interdisciplinary fieldwork on actual policies rather than simple philosophical reflection.
We will need, for example, a working specification of the concepts of liberty at issue a sample taxonomy of which the authors provide. But, as I will argue, herein lies a fundamental difficulty. Even more fundamentally, such a project assumes implicitly that the desirability of such policies are left undetermined until we find this out. But what if these government policies count as justified , as meeting an independent standard of right if there is one? Then whatever effect they have on whatever we mean by liberty will not count against them.
It is as if we are to imagine the workings of one institutionalized entity — the government — and another set of phenomena — individual capacities, activities and social relations — and then ask how the actions of the former affect the latter. But how are we to understand social activities and relations apart from any determination of what is allowed or proscribed in a given social setting? Of course, one could question that legitimacy by saying that liberty is a prima facie good and that any restriction of it must be evaluated according to how it affects that good.
The most contentious aspect of this issue, I imagine, will be property rights. Will the passage of a new tax policy aimed at raising money for schools count as an increase in liberty or a decrease? Those taxed by the new provision will no longer be able to use that income, but if the policy is justified somehow it is not clear that should count as a loss of liberty.
And what about the attempt to improve educational policy, presumably attempting to better enable students to develop capacities that will be central to any plausible conception of positive liberty? Will that count as a net increase in liberty overall? These questions are not simply indications of work left to be done. So the two questions I wish to raise about the approach taken here are these: how can a determination be made whether a government policy succeeds in increasing liberty without a prior and independent evaluation of the justification of that policy?
One wonders if institutions like corporations will also get attention in asking whether business decisions and corporate strategies have an effect on positive or negative liberty. Clearly many such strategies and the government policies that given them authority have serious effects on the abilities of people to live self-directed lives free from unwanted interference. For such decisions may make medical, educational, housing, or other badly needed resources too expensive for many people to afford, thus restricting their ability to develop their talents and lead a life that they value, or if they attempt to take such resources they will be prevented, thus limiting a certain species of their negative liberty.
For example, when the Chinese government puts pressure on Google to censor its content and the company considers shutting down its Chinese operation, who should we say is responsible for robbing Chinese citizens of access to the site? That question is complicated of course, but even if one places the blame on the doorstep of the government of China, the fact that Google is the only major search engine that can deliver what is needed by the Chinese users is also clearly relevant to the appraisal of the extent of their liberty.
The lack of freedom to gain crucial information is the result of complex public policy decisions that extend back beyond the current controversy, back at least to events that allowed Google to gain such an extensive market share. Now one could say that because a corporation acts within its rights there is no loss of freedom on the part of those whose options are narrowed as a result of those actions. But this is to rely on a conception of liberty that assumes the justification of the property rights scheme that rendered those decisions legally legitimate, and critiques of unrestrained markets question that very assumption.
Of course, the particular project outlined here is not the question of whether government policies actually increase or decrease liberty, per se , but rather whether government attempts to increase liberty, directly or indirectly, actually succeed in making people better off along some other dimension.