Quentin Skinner on Freedom

Quentin Skinner

A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to have dinner with Quentin Skinner, a very interesting political philosopher who just had a collection of essays (on Arbitrary Power, a central concept in his thinking, as far as I understand) published in Norwegian, at Res Publica.

Skinner turned out to be not just the erudite-font-of-wisdom kind of person you expect from these international philosopher of mystery types, he was also quite possibly the nicest and most polite person I've ever met. They just don't make Cambridge alumni like they used to.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has put a talk he gave here in Norway online. The talk, which I haven't heard all the way through yet (I may post on it when I have) is very interesting. It deals with the history of the concept of freedom and tries to place a "third" concept of freedom between the Hobbes-Mill-Berlin dialectic between "positive" and "negative" freedom. It's well worth listening to. Even if you're not interested in these things, Skinner's diction alone is worth the price of admission.

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