In August of 2021 I had one of the greatest professional experiences: I have been able to interview Quentin Skinner, a world-leading intellectual historian. The focus of the interview was a concept of liberty (or freedom) in the context of digitalisation of social and political life.
Quentin Skinner points out that before the arrival of liberalism with its negative vision of freedom as non-interference, another conception of liberty had been almost universally accepted. Some theorists call that other conception “republican”, while Skinner prefers to call it “neo-Roman”. It says that the essence of liberty is to be free from dependence or domination, understood as someone else’s arbitrary power over our life.
In the interview we talk about how neo-Roman concept of liberty enables us to see that the threat of digital corporations is not just about privacy – it is about our status as free persons.
The interview has been published in “History of European Ideas”: