The Monist 84 (1):60-76 (2001)

Current debates as to whether “republican liberty” is a negative or a positive concept of liberty take as their starting point the distinction between these concepts as outlined in Isaiah Berlin’s essay “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Berlin’s essay has stimulated a considerable debate about the precise nature of the distinction between the two concepts, whether there are indeed two concepts of liberty or only one, the triadic concept, and whether the two concepts are systematically connected to the foundational assumptions of different traditions of political philosophy. Republican liberty has traditionally been placed under the positive heading as one variant of positive liberty, but this has been challenged by the argument that republican liberty is a form of negative liberty which is more extensive than the liberal form of negative liberty in incorporating the notion of freedom from potential as well as actual interference or constraint. According to this interpretation, therefore, the main distinction between the political traditions of liberalism and republicanism is to be found not in the distinction between negative and positive liberty, but in a distinction within negative liberty.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist20018417
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