chapter  2
Liberty as Independence
Pages 14

In this chapter I o er an analysis of Wollstonecra ’s concept of liberty as independence and of the intellectual context within which her approach to liberty is developed. A republican concept of liberty – the freedom from subordination under arbitrary power – is at the heart of Wollstonecra ’s feminist philosophy . I refer to her as a republican because of the centrality that she a ords to liberty conceived in this way. I refer to her as a feminist republican because of how her commitment to equality between the sexes and her interpretation of the causes and dynamics of women’s subordination to male power sit within her republicanism , and tilt her republican thought towards an appreciation of the importance of attending to subordination in a wider array of relations than formal civic ones. Equality requires not merely formal entitlements but also a culture of equal respect . A related important aspect that we will be returning to is her emphasis on the experience of living unfreely and on the consequences for a person’s character and sense of herself of living in such conditions.