Is There Something Wrong with 'Free Action'?

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    Abstract

    This article gives an overview of traditional accounts of social freedom ('negative' and 'positive') as noninterference with action, and defends their conceptual common ground against recent attacks. Philip Pettit claims that freedom would be better understood as antipower than noninterference. However, it is so far from being the case that accounts of freedom as noninterference and as antipower are necessarily antithetical, that they can in fact be complementary. More specifically, they are not about the same kind of freedom, the first being concerned with free action, but the second with the notion of a free person or a free society. Wayne Norman's arguments against the importance of the notion of free action are subsequently examined and found wanting. In general, we have no good reason for abandoning the post-Isaiah-Berlin conceptual orthodoxy about an analysis of free action being the cornerstone of any viable general theory of freedom.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-273
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Theoretical Politics
    Volume10
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1998

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2004 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

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