A Third Concept of Liberty


in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 117

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780197262795
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753954 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

A Third Concept of Liberty

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  • Social and Cultural History


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This chapter analyses Sir Isaiah Berlin's theory of liberty, In particular, it focuses on Berlin's most celebrated contribution to the debate, his essay entitled ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’. Berlin identifies two concepts of liberty, one positive and the other negative. He assumes that, whenever we speak about negative liberty, we must be speaking about absence of interference. The chapter isolates a third concept of liberty. It attempts to show that we have inherited two rival and incommensurable theories of negative liberty, although in recent times we have generally contrived to ignore one of them.

Keywords: Isaiah Berlin; liberty; freedom; positive liberty; negative liberty

Chapter.  14907 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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