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Arp, R. (2008). Suárez and Filmer on Freedom. Philosophical Frontiers, 3, 2, 13-39. By Robert Arp
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The point of this paper is to explicate freedom as understood by Francisco Suárez (1548-1617) and Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) and to place Suárez and Filmer into dialogue with one... More > another concerning the issues of human freedom and governmental authority. In doing so, I first set the stage by defining five types of freedom as envisioned by Mortimer Adler (1902-2001) in his timeless work, The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of the Conceptions of Freedom (1958). Then, I investigate the sections of Suárez’’s De legibus concerning the relationship of the governor to the governed and, using Adler’’s notions of freedom as a model, trace the kinds of freedom espoused therein. Third, I examine Filmer’’s political treatises and explicate the kinds of freedom found in those works. Next, I show that Suárez and Filmer actually agree upon certain issues of paternalism and societal constraint, and that these similarities in their doctrines can be brought out upon examining the notion of freedom. Finally...< Less