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The Instability of Freedom as Noninterference: The Case of Isaiah Berlin

Philip Pettit
Ethics
Vol. 121, No. 4 (July 2011), pp. 693-716
DOI: 10.1086/660694
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/660694
Page Count: 24
Subjects: Philosophy
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Abstract

In Hobbes, freedom of choice requires nonfrustration: the option you prefer must be accessible. In Berlin, it requires noninterference: every option, preferred or unpreferred, must be accessible—every door must be open. But Berlin’s argument against Hobbes suggests a parallel argument that freedom requires something stronger still: that each option be accessible and that no one have the power to block access; the doors should be open, and there should be no powerful doorkeepers. This is freedom as nondomination. The claim is that freedom as noninterference is an unstable alternative between freedom as nonfrustration and freedom as nondomination.