The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols

The Cunning of Freedom: Saving the Self in an Age of False Idols

by Ryszard Legutko


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This book has two currents. The first is an analysis of the three concepts of freedom that are called, respectively, negative, positive, and inner. Negative freedom is defined as an absence of coercion, positive freedom as an ability to rule oneself and others, inner freedom as being oneself; that is, being the author of one’s decisions. Each concept is analyzed both in terms of its development in the history of ideas and in terms of its internal logic. The major problem of negative freedom is to find widely accepted rules according to which this freedom can be distributed. Positive freedom’s major difficulty is to define what constitutes a free person. The greatest dilemma with inner freedom is how to correlate it with the proper interpretation of the human self. The book advances the thesis, and this constitutes the other current of its narrative—that we have been witnessing the advent of a new form of despotism, much of it being the effect of liberalism’s dominant position. Precisely because it took a reductionist position, liberalism has impoverished our view of freedom and, consequently, our notion of human nature with its political, moral, and metaphysical dimensions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641771375
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 01/12/2021
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 133,895
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ryszard Legutko is Professor of Philosophy at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, specializing in ancient Greek philosophy and in political theory. He is a former Deputy Speaker of the Senate, a Minister of Education, and a Secretary of State in the Chancellery of President Lech Kaczynski. At present, Legutko is a Member of the European Parliament, and Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group within the parliament.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Negative Freedom

1 On Negative Freedom 7

2 The Wretched World of Absolute Freedom 11

3 Maximum Freedom 15

4 Freedom from Tyranny 39

Part 2 Positive Freedom

5 On Positive Freedom 59

6 The Philosopher 63

7 The Entrepreneur 73

8 The Artist 83

9 The Aristocrat 97

Part 3 Inner Freedom

10 On Inner Freedom 113

11 The Nonexistent Self 119

12 The Minimal Self 133

13 A Strong Concept of Self 151

Conclusion 169

Notes 181

Index 187

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