Two Concepts of Liberty 1958. An Inaugural Lecture as Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory. Delivered before the university of Oxford on 31.10.1958. Published by Clarendon Press, Oxford 1958.
Kaksi vapauden käsitettä. Teoks. Isaiah Berlin. Vapaus, ihmisyys ja historia. Suom. Timo Soukola. Gaudeamus, Helsinki 2001.
Liberty. Incorporating Four Essays on Liberty. Edited by Henry Hardy. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2002
The first of these political senses of freedom or liberty (I shall use both words to mean the same), which (following much precedent) I shall call the ‘negative’ sense, is involved in the answer to the question
‘What is the area within which the subject – a person or group of persons – is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons?’
Mikä on se alue, jolla subjekti – henkilö tai ryhmä henkilöitä – jätetään tai tulisi jättää tekemään sen mihin tämä on kykenevä tai olemaan se mikä hän voi olla, ilman muiden ihmisten asiaan puuttumista.
The second, which I shall call the ‘positive’ sense, is involved in the answer to the question
‘What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?’
Mikä tai kuka on se hallinnan tai asioihin puuttumisen lähde, joka voi määrätä jonkun oloemaan tai tekemän jotakin nimenomaista eikä jotakin muuta.
The two questions are clearly different, even though the answers to them may overlap.
The notion of negative freedom
I am normally said to be free to the degree to which no man or body of men interferes with my activity. Political liberty in this sense is simply the area within which a man can act unobstructed by others
You lack political liberty or freedom only if you are prevented from attaining a goal by human beings
By being free in this sense I mean not being interfered with by others. The wider the area of non-interference the wider my freedom.
‘A free man’, said Hobbes, ‘is he that . . . is not hindered to do what he has a will to.’
Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience.
Yet it remains true that the freedom of some must at times be curtailed to secure the freedom of others.
It is that liberty in this sense is not incompatible with some kinds of autocracy, or at any rate with the absence of self government.
Liberty in this sense is principally concerned with the area of control, not with its source.
Freedom in this sense is not, at any rate logically, connected with democracy or self-government.
The notion of positive freedom
The ‘positive’ sense of the word ‘liberty’ derives from the wish on the part of the individual to be his own master.
I wish my life and decisions to depend on myself, not on external forces of whatever kind.