A Brief History of Liberty / Edition 1

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Through a fusion of philosophical, social scientific, and historical methods, A Brief History of Liberty provides a comprehensive, philosophically-informed portrait of the elusive nature of one of our most cherished ideals.

  • Offers a succinct yet thorough survey of personal freedom
  • Explores the true meaning of liberty, drawing philosophical lessons about liberty from history
  • Considers the writings of key historical figures from Socrates and Erasmus to Hobbes, Locke, Marx, and Adam Smith
  • Combines philosophical rigor with social scientific analysis
  • Argues that liberty refers to a range of related but specific ideas rather than limiting the concept to one definition
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Although the book has a strongly classical liberal flavour, italso contains some interesting discussion of positive liberty. Forone thing, Schmidtz and Brennan argue that the progress of negativeliberty in western societies has massively expanded almosteveryone's range of real options. For another, they suggest thatthis greater (negative and positive) external freedom can open theway to a greater internal or psychological" freedom". (ThePhilosophers' Magazine, 13 August 2010)

"Its brevity and simplicity is perhaps understandable, given thehistorical focus and ambitious scope of the book, and the authors'evident desire to get the light, entertaining and up-beat narrativemoving." (The Philosopher's Magazine, August 2010)

"Its brevity and simplicity is perhaps understandable, given thehistorical focus and ambitious scope of the book, and the authors'evident desire to get the light, entertaining and up-beat narrativemoving." (The Philosopher's Magazine, August 2010)

"The book weaves together a number of figures in social,political, philosophical, economic, and even psychological theory,in a way not commonly found, and it does so rather effectively."(Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, September 05, 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405170796
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Series: Brief Histories of Philosophy Series , #2
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,052,181
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schmidtz is Kendrick Professor of Philosophy, jointProfessor of Economics, and Director of the Freedom Center at theUniversity of Arizona. His articles have appeared in the Journalof Philosophy, Ethics, and Political Theory.

Jason Brennan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy,Research, at Brown University, and a faculty associate of thePolitical Theory Project at Brown University. His articles haveappeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, TheAustralasian Journal of Philosophy, and Ratio.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Conceptions of Freedom 1

1 A Prehistory of Liberty: Forty Thousand Years Ago 30

2 The Rule of Law: AD 1075 60

3 Religious Freedom: 1517 93

4 Freedom of Commerce: 1776 120

5 Civil Liberty: 1954 169

6 Psychological Freedom, the Last Frontier: 1963 208

Bibliography 244

Index 261

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