Libertà va cercando, ch’ é si cara come sa chi per lei vita rifiuta. (Dante)

E’ una bella prigione, il mondo. ( Shakespeare , Amleto )


a collection of APHORISMS, citations, definitions, paradigms, viewpoints



Libertà (sulla scia di Sant’Agostino e Kant; dell’amore per Heidegger, ed amicizia con Chiaromonte)

– non è  opporsi ad  una norma: la contestazione (1968) è infatti sempre subordinata alla norma cui ci si oppone.

NOTA. Il grande matematico Alain Connes, intervenendo al FestScienza di Roma (09 01) afferma che il math diviene tale (creativo) quando si ribella alla legacy. Ma la sua biografia  mostra piuttosto un altro principio di innovazione-libertà: quello della pluralità contro identità-singolarità, un principio Darwiniano ed Arendtiano-Levinassien (giudaico). Se  fosse sempre rimasto a Paris, pur luogo di eccellenza (PPP: Paris, Pisa e Princeton), non sarebbe diventato uno dei più grandi math viventi: emsinterview (intervista di eccezionale interesse scientifico, sulle frontiere della fisica e della “geometria  non commutativa” da lui creata). Dalla vita di Connes emerge anche il principio della path-dependence (di Paul David): tutto cominciò quando per vincere la noia di un lungo viaggio, pescò a caso un libro di math in una libreria di Princeton (ed il luogo introduce una place-dependence; linguaggio, spazio e tempo definiscono i limiti delle nostre libertà, sino – al limite – al determinismo).

+ è iniziativa, ricominciare sempre daccapo (Schumpeter; Paul David riprende oggi questo tema di storia e  teoria delle organizzazioni, del cambiamento organizzativo)

Freedom (on St. Augustin, Kant, Heidegger, and Chiaromonte lines):

– in negative terms: it is not to oppose a Norm, since your Action would still depend on it

+ positively: it is initiative; ALWAYS rebooting, restarting at each time; so that a social organisation, or system is  still alive (Schumpeter, David)


Nick Chiaromonte


Descartes Non c’é nulla interamente in nostro potere, se non i nostri pensieri. –  NOTHING IS FULLY IN OUR POWER, except our thoughts.


Paul K. Feyerabend

“L’epistemologia anarchica” in Contro il metodo Milano, Feltrinelli, 1979, pp. 21-29, 155, 246

Fichte: Essere libero è nulla, divenirlo è cosa celeste.

Miltie Friedman

“The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom,” in Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962); see also Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).


Gaus, Gerald and Shane D. Courtland, “Liberalism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <;.

As soon as one examines it, ‘liberalism’ fractures into a variety of types and competing visions. In this entry we focus on debates within the liberal tradition. We begin by (1) examining different interpretations of liberalism’s core commitment — liberty. We then consider (2) the longstanding debate between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ liberalism. In section (3) we turn to the more recent controversy about whether liberalism is a ‘comprehensive’ or a ‘political’ doctrine. We close in (4) by considering disagreements as to ‘the reach’ of liberalism — does it apply to all humankind, and must all political communities be liberal?


Robert A. Lawson


For well over a hundred years, the economic world has been engaged in a great intellectual debate. On one side of this debate have been those philosophers and economists who advocate an economic system based on private property and free markets—or what one might call economic freedom. The key ingredients of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete in markets, and protection of person and property. Institutions and policies are consistent with economic freedom when they allow voluntary exchange and protect individuals and their property. (…)

Adam Smith was one of the first economists to argue for a version of economic freedom, and he was followed by a distinguished line of thinkers that includes John Stuart Mill, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman, as well as economists such as Murray Rothbard.

On the other side of this debate are people hostile to economic freedom who instead argue for an economic system characterized by centralized economic planning and state control of the means of production. Advocates of an expanded role for the state include Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx and such twentieth-century advocates as Abba Lerner, John Kenneth Galbraith, Michael Harrington, and Robert Heilbroner. These scholars argue that free markets lead to monopolies, chronic economic crises, income inequality, and increasing degradation of the poor, and that centralized political control of people’s economic lives avoids these problems of the marketplace. They deem economic life simply too important to be left up to the decentralized decisions of individuals.


Karl Marx

Benito Mussolini

We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.


JP Sastre: L’uomo è condannato ad essere libero: condannato perché non si è creato da se stesso, e pur tuttavia libero, perché, una volta gettato nel mondo, è responsabile di tutto ciò che fa. – Man  is condemned to be free: condemned because  he did not create himself, but free  nonetheless, because, once thrown in the world, he is responsible of whatever he does.

Seneca: Vuoi ottenere la vera libertà? Renditi schiavo della filosofia. – Would  you like to get freedom? Become slave of philosophy.

Emanuele Severino


Vallentyne, Peter, “Libertarianism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <;.

Libertarianism holds that agents initially fully own themselves and have moral powers to acquire property rights in external things under certain conditions. It is normally advocated as a theory of justice in the sense of the duties that we owe each other. So understood, it is silent about any impersonal duties (i.e., duties owed to no one) that we may have.

Libertarianism can be understood as a basic principle or as a derivative one. For example, one might defend libertarianism on the basis of rule utilitarianism or rule contractarianism (see, e.g., Narveson 1988). Here, however, we shall focus on libertarianism as a natural rights doctrine.

Libertarianism is often thought of as “right-wing” doctrine. This, however, is mistaken for at least two reasons. First, on social—rather than economic—issues, libertarianism tends to be “left-wing”. It opposes laws that restrict consensual and private sexual relationships between adults (e.g., gay sex, non-marital sex, and deviant sex), laws that restrict drug use, laws that impose religious views or practices on individuals, and compulsory military service. Second, in addition to the better-known version of libertarianism—right-libertarianism—there is also a version known as “left-libertarianism”. Both endorse full self-ownership, but they differ with respect to the powers agents have to appropriate unappropriated natural resources (land, air, water, etc.). Right-libertarianism holds that typically such resources may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes her labor with them, or merely claims them—without the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them. Left-libertarianism, by contrast, holds that unappropriated natural resources belong to everyone in some egalitarian manner. It can, for example, require those who claim rights over natural resources to make a payment to others for the value of those rights. This can provide the basis for a kind of egalitarian redistribution.

The best known early statement of (something close to) libertarianism is Locke (1690). The most influential contemporary work is Nozick (1974).


Simone Weil

Ne L’Enracinement, sviluppa in forma radicale la teoria della inversione doveridiritti, presente come componente di filosofia morale anche nelle filosofie della libertà  – e nello stesso liberalesimo politico (right libertarians, nella def. di Vallentyne) ma in una opposta topologia dirittidoveri.


“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth” Liu Xiaobo, 2010 Nobel laureate


Stefano Zamagni

My rewording and translation of his point in MicroMega 6/2008.

S. Zamagni, Diagnosi e terapia di una crisi annunciata – pp. 81-102

How do you interpret the principle of freedom? It has 3 distinct components:

1) autonomy, “degrees of freedom” (from constraints and power) in analysis, decision and choice implementation. Possibility and probability of a choice being made by the subject himself (and not by others, or lack of choice).

2) FREEDOM FROM something, immunity (from unchosen events; hunger, illness, unemployment, etc.).

3) FREEDOM OF pursuing an end: power, empowerment; capacitation, effective capabilities and favourable conditions to follow the desired choice. Transition of a choice from potentiality to actuality (Aristote).

And 4 basic political theories articulate them differently:

a – (Free marketeer, “right-wing” as well as classic) Liberismo, Libertarianism develop only the first two ones and underestimate the third. Free marketeers actually ignore the 3rd, as observed by Amartya Sen.

b&c – The social doctrine of the Catholic Church (Common Good theory), modern Christianity in general, and freedom-with-justice (“left-wing” libertarianism) currents of thought seek a harmonization of the 3 components.

d – Socialisms: from 1800 utopian and scientific ones (Marxism), to the 1930s “market socialism” theory, underestimate the first component and concentrate only upon the 2nd and 3rd. Marxism actually denies the 1st.


top 6 readings, MUST: Arendt, Friedman, Hobbes, Locke, Nozick and Weil

Arendt, Hannah (1958), The Human Conditon, Chicago.
Berggren, Niclas (2003), “The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey.” Independent Review 8, no. 2: 193–211. Available online at:
Carter, Ian (2008), “Positive and Negative Liberty”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <;.
Cohen, G. A. (1995), Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (New York: Cambridge University Press).
Friedman, Milton (1962), Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gaus, Gerald F. (1994). ‘Property, Rights, and Freedom,’  Social Philosophy and Policy 11: 209-40.
Gaus, Gerald F. (1996). Justificatory Liberalism: An Essay on Epistemology and Political Theory. New York: Oxford University Press.
Gaus, Gerald F. (2003). ‘Backwards into the Future: Neorepublicanism as a Postsocialist Critique of Market Society’,  Social Philosophy & Policy 20: 59-92.
Gaus, Gerald F. (2004). ‘The Diversity of Comprehensive Liberalisms ’ in The Handbook of Political Theory, Gerald F. Gaus and Chandran Kukathas, eds. London: Sage: 100-114.
Gwartney, James, and Robert Lawson (2004),  Economic Freedom of the World: 2004 Annual Report. Vancouver: Fraser Institute. Available online at:
Hayek, Friedrich A.  (1960), The Constitution of Liberty (London, Routledge and Kegan Paul).
Hayek, F.A. (1978). ‘Liberalism’ in his New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Hobbes, Thomas (1948 [1651]). Leviathan, Michael Oakeshott, ed. Oxford: Blackwell.
Larmore, Charles (2004). ‘Liberal and Republican Conceptions of Freedom’ in Republicanism: History, Theory, and Practice, D. Weinstock and C. Nadeau, eds. London: Frank Cass: 96-119.
Lawson, Robert A. (2008), Economic Freedom. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. David R. Henderson, ed. Liberty Fund, Inc. Library of Economics and Liberty [Online] available from; accessed 18 February 2009; Internet.
Locke, J. (1690), Two Treatises of Government, ed. by P. Laslett, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1960. Extract reprinted in Vallentyne and Steiner, 2000b.
Messick, Richard E., ed. (1996), World Survey of Economic Freedom 1995–1996: A Freedom House Study. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.
Miles, Marc A., Edwin J. Feulner, and Mary Anastasia O’Grady (2005), 2005 Index of Economic Freedom. Available online at:
Narveson, J.  (1988), The Libertarian Idea, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Nozick, Robert  (1974), Anarchy, State and Utopia (New York: Basic Books).  Liberty Guide
Otsuka, M. (2003), Libertarianism without Inequality (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Rawls, John (1996). Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.
Scully, G. W., and D. Slottje (1991), Ranking Economic Liberty Across Countries. Public Choice 69, no. 2: 121–152.
Severino, Emanuele
Steiner, H. (1981), Liberty and Equality, Political Studies, 29: 555-569.
  • Vallentyne, P., “Libertarianism and the State” Social Philosophy and Policy, 24 (forthcoming 2007).
  • Vallentyne, P., and H. Steiner, eds., 2000a, Left Libertarianism and Its Critics: The Contemporary Debate, New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd.
  • Vallentyne, P. and H. Steiner, eds., 2000b, The Origins of Left Libertarianism: An Anthology of Historical Writings, New York: Palgrave Publishers Ltd.
  • Vallentyne, P., H. Steiner, and M. Otsuka, 2005, “Why Left-Libertarianism Isn’t Incoherent, Indeterminate, or Irrelevant: A Reply to Fried” Philosophy and Public Affairs 33: 201-15.

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