Freedom Is Non Domination

#proposition #PolLibNonDom1 mention

Our intuitions about what constitutes liberty or political freedom are best captured by the so-called republican conception of freedom. On this account, freedom is “the secure enjoyment of non-domination”, i.e. “the absence of any structural dependence on arbitrary Power.Lovett (2022).


non-domination comes in degrees: … one is not either free or unfree, but rather more or less free depending on the extent of non-domination one securely enjoys.Ibid.

In political reality, this is translated into a burden of proof for domination: every form of (partial) domination has to be legitimised, e.g. democratically by Consent of the dominated (government and citizens) or morally by a duty of care to the dominated (parents and children).This is close to Noam Chomsky’s explication of the core idea of Anarchism.

In both its conceptualisation and its application, republican freedom is emancipatory. Shifting our understanding from more conventional liberal towards a republican conception is thus a form of Conceptual Engineering in service of Critical Theory.