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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses rights-based conceptions of freedom that distinguish liberty from license. It elucidates how rights-based accounts moralize liberty, identifying two ways in which rights enter into the analysis of freedom: (i) by characterizing the domain of actions that an agent can be free to perform in terms of legitimate courses of action, and (ii) by determining which obstacles classify as constraints on freedom. It distinguishes moralized negative conceptions of liberty from positive conceptions of liberty, characterizing the former as an opportunity concept and the latter as an exercise concept. Thus, moralizing liberty is not tantamount to adopting a positive conception. Finally, it contrasts rights-based conceptions with the moral responsibility view. The latter is not a viable alternative, since the characterization of constraints collapses into a rights-based view, and since liberty must be distinguished from license in order to assign intrinsic normative significance to freedom and defend the presumption of liberty.

Keywords: freedom, liberty, moralizing liberty, license, opportunity concept, rights-based, positive liberty, moral responsibility view

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