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Power, Luck and FreedomCollected essays$
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Keith Dowding

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781526107282

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526107282.001.0001

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Republican freedom, rights and the coalition problem

Republican freedom, rights and the coalition problem

(p.205) 11 Republican freedom, rights and the coalition problem
Power, Luck and Freedom

Keith Dowding

Manchester University Press

Republican freedom is freedom from domination, whereas negative freedom is freedom from interference. Proponents argue that republican freedom is superior, since it highlights that individuals can lose freedoms even when they are not subject to interference, and claim republican freedom is more ‘resilient’. I examine the debate through the ‘coalition problem’ for republican freedom. Ssince there is always a coalition of others who could dominate any agent in any sphere, all agents are subject to domination, and hence no one can ever have republican freedom. Pettit’s simple solution to this reductio ad absurdum distinguishes potential from actual coalitions: individuals are only dominated by actual not potential coalitions. The simple solution highlights moralization problems as it demonstrates that domination cannot be purely institutionally defined, but requires consideration of dispositions and expectations about others’ behaviour. I argue that the differences between the ‘free man’ and ‘unfree person’ paradigmatic to republican arguments are best captured not by the difference between domination and interference but, rather, from familiar distinctions between different types of rights and freedoms. Resilience is a practical matter that might track some of these familiar distinctions.

Keywords:   Coalitions, Domination, Freedom, Liberty, Pettit, Philip, Republicanism, Resilience, Rights

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