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On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy$
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G. A. Cohen and Michael Otsuka

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148700

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.001.0001

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Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat

Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat

Chapter:
(p.147) Chapter Seven Capitalism, Freedom, and the Proletariat
Source:
On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice, and Other Essays in Political Philosophy
Author(s):

G. A. Cohen

, Michael Otsuka
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691148700.003.0008

This chapter argues that libertarians misuse the concept of freedom. That is not, as it stands, a comment on the attractiveness of the institutions they severally favor, but on the rhetoric they use to describe those institutions. If, however, they misdescribe those institutions, then a correct description of them might make them appear less attractive, and then the critique of the defensive rhetoric would indirectly be a critique of the institutions the rhetoric defends. The principal contention is that, while liberals and libertarians see the freedom which is intrinsic to capitalism, they overlook the unfreedom which necessarily accompanies capitalist freedom. To expose this failure of perception, the chapter begins by criticizing a description of the libertarian position provided by the libertarian philosopher Antony Flew in his Dictionary of Philosophy.

Keywords:   libertarians, liberals, freedom, Antony Flew, political philosophy, G. A. Cohen

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