Liberty as the Absence of Imposed Cost: The Libertarian Conception of Interpersonal Liberty
Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (3): 277–288 (1997)
Posted: 5 Nov 2019
Date Written: 1997
This paper argues for a non-moral interpretation of the libertarian conception of interpersonal liberty as ‘the absence of imposed cost.’ In the event of a clash of imposed costs, observing such liberty entails ‘minimising imposed costs’. Three fundamental criticisms are examined: strictly interpreted, this would logically imply genocide in practice; it is impractically unclear and moralised; it could entail mob rule of some kind. Self-ownership and private property are then non-morally derived merely from applying this formula in a state of nature. Various subsidiary issues arise throughout.
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