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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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(p.45) 2 Freedom
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes a method of doing philosophy, the method of “ordinary language” philosophy, or more appropriately, “piecemeal philosophical engineering.” It then applies this method to three questions connected with the concept of freedom: What makes the problem of free will so difficuult to grasp, and hence so difficult to solve? What is the moral value of freedom, that is, does it have an “absolute” value rather than a “conditional” value? In what respects is freedom a “negative” concept? The chapter first considers reasons why we should avoid saying either that philosophy is or is not linguistic before explaining the use of “free from” as a verbal and adjectival phrase, along with adverbial freedom and adjectival freedom. It also looks at cases of the idiom “free to,” plus a couple of sentences just involving “free” as a contrast, and concludes with an analysis of freedom as “trouser-word.”

Keywords:   ordinary language philosophy, philosophical engineering, freedom, free will, adverbial freedom, adjectival freedom

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