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Two Concepts of Liberty, Isaiah Berlin (1958)

Positive and negative

by
Liel Leibovitz
September 17, 2013

Is liberty merely the absence of coercion? Or is it the freedom to take charge and shape life as we see fit? Berlin argued that the two concepts weren’t simply distinct, but rather two interpretations of the same idea. His elegant and analytical essay helped reshape the boundaries of political philosophy, a much-needed task in a century as tumultuous as the 20th.

Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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