Freedom, law, and the republic

Scott, Paul Francis (2013) Freedom, law, and the republic. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (2MB) | Preview
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis considers the question of human freedom through the lens of the revival of republican political theory that has taken place in recent decades. In its first part, it distinguishes between different strands of that revival and argues that one of these presents a variant of human freedom which more adequately captures the human condition than does the ideal of freedom traditionally endorsed by liberal thought. It then considers that question of freedom in relation to very fundamental questions of power, law, and the reasons for which we accept the existence of an organised public power in the first place, arguing that the individual finds himself trapped between, on one hand, threats to his freedom which are horizontal, emanating from private parties, and those which are vertical, arising from the apparatus of public power which exists in order to protect man from man. In part two, one of the principal advantages identified for the neo-republican ideal - its aptness for application to the freedom of individuals in relation to each other, as well as in relation to the state - is explored within the specific contexts of the relationship of husband to wife and that of employer to employee. In each case, the relationship between the question of freedom and the specific legal rules which determine when and where public power will intervene against or on behalf of one party in relation to another, most generally the rules of private property, is analysed. It is argued that freedom is primarily a function of the ‘ordinary’ law: that which determines one’s rights and duties in relation to others, and which determines the distribution of property through taxation and spending. On the basis of this account, a renewed republican constitutionalism which focuses upon issues of property within the constitution - as a right protected by fundamental rights documents, and as a potentially distorting factor within the democratic process - is offered in part three. The normative element of republican constitutionalism is not exhausted by the issue of how to organise the organs of the state such that the individual is not dominated by the state: issues of private right being a function of constitutional processes, the constitution must also ensure that its outputs do not force man to live at the mercy of man.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Freedom, Law, neo-republicanism, property rights, non-domination
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Tomkins, Professor Adam and Anderson, Dr. Gavin
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mr Paul F Scott
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4941
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2014 09:21
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2014 09:39

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year