Politieke vrijheid: De republikeinse kritiek Van de liberale opvatting Van vrijheid

Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 65 (4):627-656 (2003)
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The debate following Berlin's famous lecture Two Concepts of Liberty circled around the opposition between negative and positive liberty. Berlin delivered his lecture during the period of the Cold War. Therefore it not only provoked a very technical debate within analytic philosophy on the concept of liberty but also contained an important butdebatable political message: those who endorse positive liberty should be conscious of the fact that the logic of positive liberty leads, if not necessarily at least easily to despotism, paternalism and even totalitarianism. It is no unimportant question then to ask whether no conception of political society can be developed which, without denying pluralism and negative liberty, would show that virtue and law are part of freedom, that freedom entails the exercise of certain actions without this leading up to the imposition of one conception of the good. In this article there is shown in what sense the republican or neo-roman vision of civil liberty can fulfil this requirement. The analysis of the different components of the republican conception of freedom shows that republicanism distinguishes itself from liberalism not so much by the defence of different institutions but by a different legitimation of them which ultimately has its origin in taking serious the proper finality of political society, in taking serious, as the Ancients did, the political and not only social nature of man



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