Thinking about Liberty

An Historian’s Approach

Quentin Skinner

Thinking about Liberty

Quentin Skinner

Distributed for Paul Holberton Publishing

78 pages | 9 1/4 x 6 3/4
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9788822264602 Will Publish January 1900
In Thinking About Liberty: An Historian’s Approach, the eminent historian Quentin Skinner traces a path in the history of ideas that involves different ways of thinking about liberty – a central concept in social and political thought in today’s Western democracies – that are different from the usual liberal expectation. The definition of freedom as the absence of interference (by external agencies or by the self), though widespread, was by no means the only one prevailing. Skinner discusses two other distinct strands in the genealogy of modern liberty, besides that mentioned, namely freedom as an absence of dependence (as in the freeman or free man vs slave) and freedom as self-realisation. Skinner’s concern is to call attention to these ways of thinking about freedom that are lately in danger of being forgotten. The lecture also presents Skinner’s 2006 Balzan Prize research project, which involved young European scholars in addressing questions about the place of civil, religious and political liberty in the formation of modern Europe.
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