Front Page Titles (by Subject) Conflicting Paradigms - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Conflicting Paradigms - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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“Freedom: A Study of the Development of the Concept in the English and American Traditions of Philosophy.” Magi Books, Inc., 33 Buckingham Drive, Albany, N. Y., 47 pp.
The clash of rival definitions of freedom and liberty disturbs international and domestic areas such as social legislation, penal reform, educational policy, family relations, and moral development. Everyone, as Karl Jaspers observes, desires this problematic “liberty,” yet this same ill-defined liberty arouses anxiety, and we often overlook it in the quest for cozy security. Plato, the Stoics, the Epicureans, Marx, Freud, Dewey, Locke, Hobbes, and Bentham all disagree on the nature of freedom. Philosophical analysis should at least help sort out several distinct meanings of freedom under discussion. Philosophers might also discuss how and why strong feelings are aroused by this competition in ideas about freedom. They might also explore how to reconcile such diverse ideas of freedom.
As a beginning we can identify, among the confusing uses of freedom, three key conceptions that scholars have woven into all discussions of American, British, and Continental thought: (1) freedom as “self-perfection” or exemption from slavery to our internal passions, (and more positively the individual's possession of virtue); (2) freedom as “self-realization” or exemption from the slavery of external circumstances (e.g., coercive laws, duress, etc.); (3) freedom as “self-determination” or the psychological and moral ability to freely choose an alternative (as opposed to determinism).
The chief contenders for the allegiance of minds are freedoms (1) and (2). Freedom (2), the laissez-faire notion of freedom which characterizes English philosophy, emerges perhaps because of empiricism, and can be summarized as “doing what one wishes.” Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Bentham, and the two Mills, as well as Russell, Moore, Broad, and Ayer subscribe to various qualified versions of this. On the other hand, those favoring freedom in sense (1), stress the moral notion of “doing as one ought.” This moralized freedom goes back to Plato and brands the second kind of freedom as not liberty but libertinism since it does not stress leading the life proper to man qua good man. Outwardly free, man could still be inwardly an abject slave lacking moral autonomy.
Moral freedom (1) tends to be unconcerned with the influence of external constraints, since the good and virtuous man can still be “free” to will the good even in prison (e.g., the Stoics and modern personalist-oriented people). Laissez-faire freedom (2) tends to believe that both morally good and bad men can be “free,” provided we remove external constraints on the will and action.
There have been various attempts to reconcile the moral and the laissez-faire notions of freedom as well as freedom as self-determination, (together with a fourth narrower notion of “political freedom,” the ability of citizens to participate in making laws). These attempts have either (a) sought to combine all three major freedoms in a consistent composite theory keeping each distinct, or (b), maintained that we can fuse all three consistently into a single freedom when each is modified.