Four Conceptions of Liberty as a Political Value

In Dimitrios Karmis & Jocyn Maclure (eds.), Civic Freedom in an Age of Diversity (forthcoming)
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What would it mean to have a suitably ‘realistic’ account of political liberty? On the one hand, I don’t think we can properly understand liberty without an underlying account of personhood or agency.2 In making sense of liberty, we need to ask: What kind of agency does it presuppose or promote? What kind of independence do we care most about? What does it mean to exercise control, or to be self-guiding, in the kind of world we live in today? At the same time, a conception of moral and political personhood needs to be appropriately ‘realistic’: It shouldn’t be over-idealized (or over-simplified), nor demand more than can be reasonably expected, given the kind of creatures we are

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Duncan Ivison
University of Sydney


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