Republican freedom and the rule of law

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 5 (2):201-220 (2006)
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At the core of republican thought, on Philip Pettit’s account, lies the conception of freedom as non-domination, as opposed to freedom as noninterference in the liberal sense. I revisit the distinction between liberal and republican freedom and argue that republican freedom incorporates a particular rule-of-law requirement, whereas liberal freedom does not. Liberals may also endorse such a requirement, but not as part of their conception of freedom itself. I offer a formal analysis of this rule-of-law requirement and compare liberal and republican freedom on its basis. While I agree with Pettit that republican freedom has broader implications than liberal freedom, I conclude that we face a trade-off between two dimensions of freedom (scope and robustness) and that it is harder for republicans to solve that trade-off than it is for liberals. Key Words: freedom • republicanism • liberalism • noninterference • non-domination • rule of law • robustness • liberal paradox.
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