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Social freedom: Definition, measurability, valuation

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  • Felix E. Oppenheim


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    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

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    Article provided by Springer & The Society for Social Choice and Welfare in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 175-185

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:22:y:2004:i:1:p:175-185
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-003-0281-3
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