Spring 2015

Philosophy of Freedom

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-346


Alicja A. Gescinska (Section 01)


[PT] This course introduces the students to the philosophy of freedom and the conceptual complexity and diversity that can be observed in the history of philosophy and political thought when it comes to defining freedom. The most significant part of the course focuses on explaining three concepts of freedom: negative freedom, positive freedom, and republicanism (freedom as non-domination). The students will be introduced to the main proponents of each concept of freedom and the main critiques of each of these different ways of conceiving freedom. The other part of the course involves applying the theoretical knowledge of these different concepts of freedom to specific contemporary social and political issues which revolve around freedom, its meaning, how to safeguard and expand it, and which are often the cause of heated debates: what are the limits of religious freedom in our secularized societies, what are the limits of the freedom of speech and expression, when does the right of the government and external authorities to intervene in our personal lives conflict with our right to personal freedom/autonomy? Throughout the course it will become clear that the position one adopts on these and similar issues fundamentally relates to the way in which one conceives of freedom, and that the conceptualization of freedom is of great importance and not, as some philosophers and political scientists have argued, the matter of a debate that has caused much heat but little light.  One or two courses in political theory/ philosophy useful but not required. 

Limited to 15 students.  Spring semester.  Loewenstein Fellow Gescinska

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to political science majors.

Cost: 37.00 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015