Stefan Collignon - Negative and positive liberty and the freedom to choose in Isaiah Berlin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

jpe:10715 - Journal of Philosophical Economics, November 20, 2018, Volume XII Issue 1 - https://doi.org/10.46298/jpe.10715
Negative and positive liberty and the freedom to choose in Isaiah Berlin and Jean-Jacques RousseauArticle

Authors: Stefan Collignon 1

Berlin has made the famous distinction between negative and positive liberty. For many liberals, negative liberty is modern individual liberty manifested in markets, while interference by the State is a form of positive liberty. Berlin was also repelled by Rousseau's concept of the general will, which he considered as a form of collectivist holism. The paper argues that this philosophy is a mistaken interpretation of Berlin's two concepts of liberty and of Rousseau's general will. In a simple model of individual and collective choice under conditions of bounded rationality, it is shown that positive and negative liberty are interdependent. The collective choices made under positive liberty can be modeled as the stochastic version of Rousseau's general will, provided that liberal democracy enables the conditions of free public deliberation. In that case, the individual freedom cherished by Berlin is compatible with positive liberty.


Volume: Volume XII Issue 1
Section: Articles
Published on: November 20, 2018
Imported on: December 28, 2022
Keywords: Positive and negative liberty,freedom,equality,rights,social contract,consensus,general will,[SHS]Humanities and Social Sciences

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