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Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. His work focuses on Africana and social/political philosophy and emphasizes themes and figures from anti-capitalist, anti-colonial, and Black radical traditions of thought and practice. He is also the author of Reconsidering Reparations (Oxford University Press, January 2022) and Elite Capture (Haymarket Press and Pluto Press, May 2022).
The distinction between "negative" and "positive" freedom focuses on the political and ethical subject's relationships with herself and with other people. Materialists have tended to focus more on the direct contribution of the social circumstances in which the subject finds herself (e.g. her relationship to the means of production and the means of subsistence). In this talk I try out one strategy for reconciling the former focus with the latter, one rooted in the political ideal of self-determination, which I associate with the latter group of thought. I'll attempt to describe subjective security as a resource that allows a person to extend herself across time, institutions, and persons in ways that are vital for securing her freedom, and sketch some political implications of this view.
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