David Miller

in Market, State, and Community

Published in print December 1990 | ISBN: 9780198278641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599903 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks


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Libertarians defend a narrow version of negative freedom. Hayek defines freedom as the absence of coercion, but this position is shown to be untenable. A more common view is that laws and other such deliberately imposed obstacles restrict freedom, but a lack of economic opportunities, for instance, does not. Against this, it is argued that any obstacle for which human beings can be held morally responsible should count as a constraint on freedom. Furthermore, contrary to Steiner, a constraint does not have to prevent an action, it can merely make it ineligible.

Keywords: coercion; constraint; economic opportunity; freedom; Friedrich Hayek; law; libertarianism; Robert Nozick; responsibility; Hillel Steiner

Chapter.  9943 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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