This paper argues in favour of a distinction between freedom and freedom of choice – a distinction that economists and political philosophers have so far either ignored or drawn wrongly. Drawing the distinction correctly may help to resolve a number of disputes in contemporary political philosophy and non-welfarist normative economics regarding the so-called preference-based account of freedom and the relevance, to judgements about freedom, of degrees of similarity between agents options. The paper begins by setting out three much discussed axioms for the measurement of freedom (of choice?) originally put forward by Pattanaik and Xu. It is suggested that the problems these axioms give rise to can be solved by distinguishing correctly between freedom and freedom of choice. The paper then sets out definitions of freedom, choice and freedom of choice, justifying these in philosophical terms and arguing their superiority to alternative definitions. Finally, on the basis of these definitions and with reference to Pattanaik and Xus axioms, it is shown that an agent can enjoy freedom without enjoying freedom of choice, and that she can enjoy an increase in one of these without enjoying an increase in the other.

Choice, Freedom and Freedom of Choice

CARTER, IAN FRANK
2004

Abstract

This paper argues in favour of a distinction between freedom and freedom of choice – a distinction that economists and political philosophers have so far either ignored or drawn wrongly. Drawing the distinction correctly may help to resolve a number of disputes in contemporary political philosophy and non-welfarist normative economics regarding the so-called preference-based account of freedom and the relevance, to judgements about freedom, of degrees of similarity between agents options. The paper begins by setting out three much discussed axioms for the measurement of freedom (of choice?) originally put forward by Pattanaik and Xu. It is suggested that the problems these axioms give rise to can be solved by distinguishing correctly between freedom and freedom of choice. The paper then sets out definitions of freedom, choice and freedom of choice, justifying these in philosophical terms and arguing their superiority to alternative definitions. Finally, on the basis of these definitions and with reference to Pattanaik and Xus axioms, it is shown that an agent can enjoy freedom without enjoying freedom of choice, and that she can enjoy an increase in one of these without enjoying an increase in the other.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/105509
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