On Forcing Individuals to be Free: T.H. Green's Liberal Theory of Positive Freedom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Berlin argues that Green's positive freedom, at odds with his liberalism, justifies an oppressive society. Berlin's argument proceeds in three steps. The first embraces a shift from negative freedom to rational self‐mastery, which is underpinned by a metaphysics of a split self. Then it is claimed that positive freedom is realizable only in a certain kind of society which, thirdly, it is argued, is oppressive. Green takes the first two steps but they do not commit him to the totalitarian conclusion, not least because he grounds positive freedom in a view of a unitary self and his society does not leave empty the institutional framework which makes possible the realization of freedom. Green's society is not oppressive in the name of freedom, but rather enabling in the name of freedom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-320
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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