From Republican to Liberal Liberty
History of Political Thought, Vol. 29, pp. 132-167, 2008
Posted: 10 May 2007 Last revised: 1 Jan 2010
Philip Pettit's narrative of the eclipse of republican by liberal liberty in late eighteenth-century Britain adds colour and plausibility to his analytical contrast between republican and liberal liberty. The narrative supports his argument that republicanism and liberalism can be helpfully contrasted in terms of non-domination and non-interference conceptions of liberty. While the narrative has not been scrutinised in the literature, it is in fact flawed. The flaws raise new questions about how stringent a value liberty as non-domination is and what motivated the value. The flaws also raise new questions about the significance of liberty as non-interference within the very strand of liberalism that Pettit focuses upon. Finally, it raises doubts about some aspects of Quentin Skinner's interpretation of republican liberty.
Keywords: republicanism, liberty, Pettit, Skinner
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