The Instability of Freedom as Non-interference: The Case of Isaiah Berlin
25 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2011
In Hobbes freedom of choice requires non-frustration: the option you prefer must be accessible. In Berlin it requires non-interference: every option, preferred or un-preferred, must be accessible, every door open. But Berlin’s argument against Hobbes suggests a parallel argument that freedom requires something stronger still: that each option be accessible and that no one be in a position to block access at will and with impunity; the doors should be open and there should be no powerful door-keepers. This is freedom as non-domination. Equating freedom with non-interference is an unstable alternative to equating it with non-frustration or non-domination.
Keywords: Hobbes, freedom, non-interference, non-domination, Berlin, Republicanism, Liberalism
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