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Social freedom: Definition, measurability, valuation


  • Felix E. Oppenheim



After defining social freedom and unfreedom in descriptive terms, I shall explore the possibility of measuring specific social freedoms and unfreedoms in terms of their various parameters, and show why these magnitudes cannot be aggregated into a measure of overall social freedom. Finally, I shall deal with value attitudes toward social freedom of agents generally and of proponents of liberalism in particular. ’Social freedom’ is the concept philosophers, political scientists, and also economists are often concerned with - often without realizing it - when dealing with the subject of liberty. I shall define ‘social freedom’ in descriptive terms, to enable individuals and groups with divergent political and moral views to agree on what it is they disagree about on the normative level. For the same reason, I shall propose descriptive criteria for the measurement of specific social freedoms and unfreedoms. Finally I shall ask under what conditions agents value their own social freedoms and what kinds of social freedoms are valuable to liberals. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Felix E. Oppenheim, 2004. "Social freedom: Definition, measurability, valuation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 22(1), pages 175-185, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:22:y:2004:i:1:p:175-185
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-003-0281-3

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    Cited by:

    1. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "Conceptions of freedom and ranking opportunity sets. A typology," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200611, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    2. repec:kap:jtecht:v:42:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10961-016-9478-3 is not listed on IDEAS

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