A Theory of Real Freedom: Toward a Growth-Oriented Liberalism

Tsutomu Hashimoto

Table of Contents


What is the nature of real (substantive) freedom in our society? Here, I shall present a new theory of liberalism which I call “growth-oriented liberalism.” First, I examine Isaiah Berlin’s concept of positive and negative freedom and raise a fundamental problem regarding freedom: Freedom is a paradoxical ideal. I shall identify two paradoxes: one concerns ordinary freedom and sophisticated values, and the other bears on “liberation” and the apathy of individuals or of groups. How can we overcome these paradoxes? To respond to this question, I shall examine Charles Taylor’s argument on positive liberty (freedom) and extend its implications. The issue is all the deeper as a society is closely knitted as a community, which is a typical trait told about Japan. By going beyond Taylor’s communitarian way of thinking, I shall endeavor to build a new theory of freedom by proposing three principles: the principle of virtue (self-esteem), the principle of generative change, and the principle of differentiation. I argue that the touchstone of free society depends on how we design our social governance based on these principles.


  • liberty
  • real freedom
  • liberalism
  • principles
  • theory of sociology


  1. Introduction
  2. Reconsidering Positive and Negative Freedom
  3. Fundamental Issues with Freedom
    1. A Paradox of Ordinary Freedom and Sophisticated Value
    2. A Paradox of Emancipation and Apathy
  4. Real (Substantive) Freedom
    1. Balancing Freedom and Non-Freedom
    2. Toward an Alternative Enterprise of Positive Freedom
    3. Causality Determinism and Defects of Paternalism
  5. Three Principles of a Free Society
    1. The Principle of Virtue (Self-Esteem)
    2. The Principle of Generative Change
    3. The Principle of Differentiation
  6. Concluding Remarks (on the Three Principles Above)

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