Do people know what they're talking about when they address the concept of freedom? Professor Quentin Skinner says, "It is a core value, but what is it that we are valuing when we're valuing freedom?" Here's an hour and a half lecture by Skinner on the Anglophone concept of liberty and its historical development. Give it a listen sometime as it's a good core philosophy review if you've heard the concepts previously, and could be very interesting if you haven't. He ties the philosophical genealogy together quite well. I'm also including scans of the notes I jotted down while listening. They should give you a brief overview of the main concepts if you don't want to listen. I've been told they're very comprehensive!
(above: continued from first drawing - words cut-off on left in first drawing: "simple simple!")
"Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom Professor Quentin Skinner is generally regarded as one of the two principal members of the influential 'Cambridge School' of the study of the history of political thought.
Professor Skinner is chiefly interested in the intellectual history of early-modern Europe, and within this area he specialises in two related fields. One is the culture of the Renaissance, especially early Italian art and the evolution of humanist moral and political thought. The other is seventeenth-century political philosophy, in particular the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, on which he has published two books and numerous articles. He is also interested in a number of more purely philosophical issues. He has written on historical explanation, on the general nature of interpretation, and on several topics in contemporary political theory, in particular the concept of political liberty and the character of the State.
In this lecture, in order to understand the underpinnings of the concept of liberty, which he considers one of the most central values in our current political life, Professor Skinner takes a look at the genealogical history and philosophy of ‘liberty’ and examines the implications of various approaches" (from the Cambridge Historian Lectures website).
Answer this question:
In the end, Skinner wants to go back to a classical concept of freedom. To be fundamentally unfree, is to occupy a certain status (think Roman law).