Ulrich Wollner

Problémy s Berlinovou dualitnou typológiou slobody

Problems with the Berlin Dual Typology of Freedom

Politické vedy, Volume 23, Number 3/2020, pages 13-27



Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
WOLLNER, U. 2020.Problémy s berlinovou dualitnou typológiou slobody. In Politické Vedy. [online]. Vol. 23, No. 3, 2020. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 13-27. Available at:


An extremely extensive and often confusing discussion arose among the commentators on Berlin’s dual typology of freedom. The aim of the article is to acquaint the reader with the mentioned issues and to draw attention to some ambiguities and problems. First, I will focus on the characteristics of negative and positive freedom. Subsequently, I will examine whether the distinction between the bipolar understanding of freedom can be interpreted as ideological. Finally, I will address the question of whether it is possible to reduce the distinction between the two understandings of freedom. First we stated that Isaiah Berlin was responsible for many ambiguities with the duality typology who caused it with his non-methodological approach to the text. We pointed out that Berlin considered positive freedom to be much more problematic and more dangerous concept for political practice. We subsequently stated that the bipolar understanding of freedom does not have to be interpreted as ideological alone. Finally, we presented the view that in order to maintain the current degree of freedom in public life, we need both types of thinking about freedom because they can complement each other.

Key words:           Isaiah Berlin, Freedom, Positive, Negative, Duality, Typology

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