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Liberty, equality, fraternity$
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Paul Spicker

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348418

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348418.001.0001

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(p.5) One Liberty
Liberty, equality, fraternity

Paul Spicker

Policy Press

Liberty is commonly represented in terms of ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ approaches. Negative freedom refers mainly to freedom from restraint. The weaknesses in the idea of negative freedom point in the direction of a counterbalancing idea, ‘positive’ freedom. This can refer to the freedom to act, or to self-determination. The chapter also discusses individual and social concepts of freedom. The idea of individual freedom starts from the premise that each person should be self-determining. Social freedom, on the other hand, starts from a different set of moral premises. It sees freedom, not as a property of individuals, but as a relationship between people. Opposition to liberty is sometimes described in terms of ‘paternalism’. This chapter enumerates three strong moral reasons for limiting liberty.

Keywords:   liberty, negative freedom, positive freedom, individual freedom, social freedom, paternalism

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