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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Lester, J. C., Liberty as the Absence of Imposed Cost: The Libertarian Conception of Interpersonal Liberty (1997). Journal of Applied Philosophy 14 (3): 277–288 (1997) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3474393

J. C. Lester (Contact Author)

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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