Vanderbilt Law Review


Stanley D. Rose

First Page



The Idea of Freedom: A Dialectical Examination of the Conceptions of Freedom By Mortimer J. Adler Institute of Philosophical Research. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co. 1958. Pp.xxvii, 689. $7.50 . . .

Each year a number of books appear which are devoted to the subject of freedom. This has been going on for at least two thousand years. But a reading of only a few of this multitude of volumes will show that one man's freedom is not necessarily another man's. It appears obvious that some order and classification ought to be introduced into our thinking about this concept. A major effort has been made in this direction in the first book here being reviewed.

This volume was written by Dr. Adler, but it is a cooperative venture which encompasses an amount of work that few scholars could hope to accomplish in their lifetime. Hundreds of books have been'examined which consider the concept of freedom, and a classifying system has been established that explains the place of each of these writers with respect to the various meanings of the concept. The author emphasizes the creative aspect of the construct set forth. This is a justified claim, as any writer will know who has ever wondered what to do with great masses of amorphous material. A reader will come away from this volume with unanswered queries in his mind,'but he should be aware that a very big job has been undertaken--a job that should be of value to other scholars for a long time to come.


The Structure of Freedom By Christian Bay Stanford, Stanford University Press; 1958. Pp. xii, 419. $7.50

The assumption here adopted and the basic premise of Professor Bay's book, The Structure of Freedom, is that the distribution of freedom in modern society is not primarily a legal problem...

The author believes that a maximum freedom for all is the supreme political virtue. (p. 6) He emphasizes the maximum of freedom for each individual. He wants every individual to have all of the basic rights before we start giving a few other persons some of the less basic rights. A maximum of individual freedom of expression "is apolitical goal more conducive than other goals are to the realization of the social prerequisites for increasing satisfaction of the most important human needs." (p. 14)