The republican ideal of freedom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Early in the nineteenth century Benjamin Constant delivered a famous lecture entitled 'The Liberty of the Ancients and the Liberty of the Moderns'. The liberty of the ancients is the most prominent form of what Isaiah Berlin later called positive freedom. The most important observation in introducing the republican conception of freedom is to recognize Constant's image of the liberty of the ancients as a caricature that served to hide the true republican way of thinking, only recently so prominent, from his contemporaries' eyes. The republican way of thinking about freedom, effectively suppressed by Constant, represents it as nondomination, not as direct democratic standing. Freedom as noninterference invokes the notion of interference; freedom as nondomination goes further and invokes arbitrary interference: interference on an arbitrary basis. The freedom as nondomination of those they are in a position to affect may be more or less intense; the weaker the agents, the greater the freedom of those they may affect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLiberty Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351560269
ISBN (Print)9781594511646
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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