The Historical Development of Rights to Negative Liberty and of Negative Autonomy

 

I.  The Beginning:  The Proof Paradigm and Plato's Beehive Society.  A Priori Rational Insight Gives Infallible Knowledge

 

II.  Positive Liberty of the Rational Self vs. Negative Liberty of the Empirical Self. 

Empirical learning is never infallible.

 

III.  The Historical Discovery of the Importance of Rights to Negative Liberty

 

        A.  Thomson's Lockean Natural Rights

 

        B.  Mill's Consequentialist Liberty Rights: 

                1.  Freedom of Expression and the Free Give-and-Take of Opinion:  No need for any claim of infallibility.  Rationality is a social achievement.

                2.  Rights to Individuality Benefit Everyone, Even Conformists.

 

        C.  Rawls's Nonconsequentialist Liberty Rights: 

                1.  The Lexical Priority of the Liberty Principle:  Development and Full and Informed Exercise of the Two Moral Powers is Necessary for Citizen Consent to Carry Moral Legitimacy (Scanlon's Idea)

                2.  The Surprising Discovery that Disagreement (Even Subversive Advocacy) Can Make A Government More Stable

 

IV.  Negative Autonomy (of the Empirical Self) as a Social Product of Rights to Negative Liberty

        A.  Rights Against Legal Paternalism:  Defined in terms of the settled values and preferences of the empirical self (Feinberg) or the most reliable judgment of the empirical self (Talbott).

        The Normal Adult Qualification

 

V.  The Most Surprising Discovery of All:  Negative Autonomy of the Empirical Self Based on Rights to Negative Liberty is What is Important for Understanding Justice.  The Positive Autonomy of the Rational Self Plays no Role.

 

VI.  An Alternative to the Proof Paradigm for Knowledge and Rational Belief: The Big Change From the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.