Summary Of ' Two Concepts Of Liberty ' By Sir Isaiah Berlin Essay

1692 Words Dec 1st, 2015 null Page
A Summary on “Two Concepts of Liberty” by Sir Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin’s writing on the two concepts of liberty, which can be found in Chapter VII titled “Two Concepts of Liberty” in Political Philosophy edited by Anthony Quinton, helps people to understand to what degree they are free. He organizes his chapter into two sections, the first section is on the notion of negative freedom and the second section is on the notion of positive freedom.
Sir Isaiah Berlin‘s discussion on the notion of negative freedom is opened by him trying to define the word “free”. One way to explain “free” is by saying “one is free to the degree to which no human being interferes with one’s activity” (Berlin 141), and then he continues on by talking about being unfree by saying “one is not free to the degree in which one is prevented by another person from doing something” (141), noting that if this is within a contract, then he describes the person as being “coerced” or “enslaved”. Coercion is the implication that a person deliberately interferes with another person’s area of action (Berlin, 142). He makes this a critical point, and explains that just because one suffers from poverty does not imply that they are “unfree”, at least in a political sense. Some may say they are a victim of coercion or slavery because they do not have the money necessary to do certain activities that others can, like buying bread; Berlin says this may be true, but only if one accepts the theory that lack of…

Related Documents