Ian Carter

in A Measure of Freedom

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294535
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598951 | DOI:

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Some of the authors who adopt the value-based approach to measuring freedom think of freedom as the absence not only of constraints that are external to the agent but also of constraints that are internal to the agent. Most prominent among these authors is Charles Taylor. On Taylor’s view, freedom coincides with self-mastery or self-determination or “positive freedom”. As well as leading to illiberal judgements of degrees of freedom, the tendency to roll together internal and external freedom into a single quantitative attribute can be shown to be logically inseparable from the value-based approach to measuring freedom. Given the arguments of chapter 5, this rules out internal constraints as a kind of constraint that can be relevant in measuring degrees of overall freedom.

Keywords: agent; degrees of freedom; external freedom; illiberal; internal constraints; internal freedom; positive freedom; self-determination; self-mastery; Charles Taylor

Chapter.  8536 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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