Volume 5, Issue 1, 2005
A GlobaI Theory?
This essay provides a critical discussion of Philip Pettit’s book A Theory of Freedom: From the Psychology to the Politics of Agency (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). It evaluates the general prospeets of a ‘global theory of freedom’ of the kind advocated by Pettit, i.e. one that seeks explicitly to link a metaphysical theory of free agency to a distinct conception of political liberty. Pettit’s in many ways innovative views concerning ongoing debates in metaphysics and political theory (e.g. compatibilism, republicanism, etc.) are also examined in detail. While recognising the legitimacy and originality of this intellectual endeavour, the paper concludes that, however full of important insights, Pettit’s account fails to realise the desired “reflective equilibrium” between a theory of free agency and that of political liberty.