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What Is Political Liberty?

Quentin Skinner leads a talk and discussion about political liberty

Political thinkers have long pondered the nature of political freedom. What does it mean to have political liberty? Is a true understanding of it a negative one, the absense of someone else’s interference in your life? Or is it a more positive one, in which you are able to realise your potential as a human, perhaps through participation in the wider human community? Is this positive/negative opposition not the only way of viewing liberty: perhaps we should look to classical notions of what it means to be free to gain a subtler understanding?

Quentin Skinner is Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary University. He was previously the Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge. His seminal, two volume, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, lays out the historical roots of political concepts of the modern world and his scholarship covers early modern intellectual history, political theory, philosophy and contemporary political ideas. His work has frequently returned to the concept of political liberty and in works such as Liberty before Liberalism he has put forward a notion of a third concept of liberty, beyond the positive and negative sorts.


Professor Quentin Skinner | talks


Date and Time:

26 October 2010 at 8:00 pm


3 hours



The Wheatsheaf
25 Rathbone Place

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Organised by:

Big Ideas
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Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.bigi.org.uk

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