The Concept of Overall Freedom

Ian Carter

in A Measure of Freedom

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294535
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598951 | DOI:
 The Concept of Overall Freedom

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Some authors, such as Felix Oppenheim, Will Kymlicka and Ronald Dworkin, have claimed that the notion of degrees of freedom makes no sense, or in any case plays no part in a liberal theory of justice. Their various arguments can be classed as ontological, epistemological and normative, given that they aim to show, respectively, that there is no such thing as overall freedom, that overall freedom cannot be measured, and that overall has no normative importance. For these authors the freedom of a person to do a specific thing is the only kind of freedom that exists, or the only kind that we can know about, or the only kind that matters. In answer to the ontological objection, it can be shown that there is such a thing as overall freedom if there is such a thing as specific freedoms, given that one can quantify over each of the elements of the triadic relation in which a specific freedom consists (agents, constraints, actions). The normative objection is answered in chapters 2 and 3, and the epistemological objection in chapters 7-9.

Keywords: actions; agent; constraints; Felix Oppenheim; ontological; overall freedom; quantify; Ronald Dworkin; specific freedoms; Will Kymlicka

Chapter.  9964 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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