Social Philosophy and Policy

Research Article


Loren E. Lomaskya1

a1 Philosophy, University of Virginia


Individuals care deeply about with whom they associate and on what terms. A liberty to avoid entanglement in the disfavored designs of others is counterposed by an entitlement not to be excluded from valued modes of activity. These interests generate not one but two freedoms of association, the former negative and the latter positive. Often they conflict. This essay begins by setting out several respects in which negative free association is crucial to a liberal order and then examines several pleas for positive association, at least one of which is judged to be compelling. Because the two freedoms of association are in conspicuous tension, the essay concludes with strategies for reconciling their competing claims.