Charles Taylor's Two Concepts Of Negative Liberty

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In this paper, I will argue that Charles Taylor is correct for challenging the crude version of negative liberty and proving that it is indefensible in a liberal society, and by doing so making negative liberty a form of positive liberty. In his famous work, “What’s wrong with negative liberty?”, Charles Taylor takes on Isiah Berlin’s argument against negative liberty. In this essay, we will see Berlin’s distinction of different kinds of liberties, then go through Taylor’s paper on criticizing Berlin’s idea of negative liberty. We will also look at Taylor’s criticism of negative liberty’s advantages to liberalism’s goal of advancing individual prosperity.
Before starting to discuss Taylor’s argument, it is necessary to look at Berlin’s distinction of liberty in “Two Concepts of Liberty”. Berlin argues that there are two types of liberty, positive and negative. The freedom from external interference is what he calls negative liberty, and the freedom to act upon one’s
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He never mentions this in his essay directly and even if he did, I believe it would be a wrong one. With his argument, Taylor makes the exercise concept version of the negative liberty fall under positive liberty and by protecting the positive liberty of the people, the state would also be protecting negative liberty as well. Furthermore, just because the state is protecting the opportunity concept, doesn’t mean that they aren’t protecting the exercise concept as well. Without the opportunity concept, we wouldn’t be able to practice liberty in the exercise concept either. For instance, the traffic light example could be seen as both because both internal and external obstacles are protected because by reducing rates of accidents, the government is creating a sense of safety so if one had the irrational fear of getting into an accident, this would be prevented with these

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