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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 1172001 Lectures$
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F.M.L. Thompson

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262795

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262795.001.0001

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A Third Concept of Liberty

A Third Concept of Liberty


(p.237) A Third Concept of Liberty
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 117


British Academy

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

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