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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that, if liberty is understood strictly in its “negative” sense, that is, as the absence of obstacles to action imposed by humans, then Isaiah Berlin and Ronald Dworkin and others are mistaken in claiming that there is a conflict between the respective demands of liberty and equality. This chapter demonstrates that there is no such conflict because any gain in some person’s liberty is accompanied by a loss in liberty on the part of others, even if certain values associated with liberty and equality may sometimes conflict with them. As a result, enforced egalitarian policies can only redistribute liberty: they cannot be shown to diminish it.

Keywords: liberty, equality, Isaiah Berlin, Ronald Dworkin, value conflict

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