Abstract This essay dethrones the negative-positive distinction, commonly put forward as the adequate account of Green’s conception of freedom, replacing it with an inner/outer account. On this account, rightly understood, Green’s freedom of self-realization is a complex conception that consists in the entwining together of distinctive human capacities (inner/internal) and just social institutions (outer/external). To unlock that complexity MacCallum’s single triadic concept of freedom is an effective analytical tool. Its analytical force withstands Baldwin’s criticism. Deploying Green’s conception of positive freedom, Baldwin argues that MacCallum’s single concept fails to accommodate it since his single concept is really a negative concept of freedom. Baldwin’s argument fails because, first, contrary to his claim, his revision of MacCallum’s single triadic concept is not a legitimate development of it. Second, though MacCallum’s single concept rejects the conceptual separation of ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom to’, it does not eliminate, but rather makes sense of, the substantive distinction/s between various interpretations of negative freedom/s and positive freedom/s. MacCallum’s single triadic concept discloses that we should not regard the internality/externality distinction as another version of the positive/negative distinction and that Green’s complex freedom does not replace negative with positive freedom; nor does it extinguish the distinction between the two. Rather, at the same time that its complexity incorporates both negative and positive dimensions, complex freedom is critical of both negative and positive conceptions of freedom.
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