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Description - John Stuart Mill's Social and Political Thought by G.W. Smith

This collection covers the breadth of Mill's work in social theory and political economy, including his ethics, liberalism, theory of government, methodology and feminism. It represents the most important scholarly and philosophical criticism of this century, illustrating the development of modern Mill scholarship and the influence of changing social conditions and philosophical trends upon it. Mill is recognized as a dominating figure in the tradition of liberalism. His brand of utilitarian liberalism represents the major alternative to the rights-based liberalism of contemporary thinkers such as Rawls and Dworkin, and his social thought has been hotly debated ever since his death in 1873. The material included here charts the vicissitudes of his reputation, especially in connection with the renaissance of Mill studies which began in the 1960s, when changing social conditions and the resultant atmosphere of moral debate led to newly urgent discussion of On Liberty and Utilitarianism . In a general introduction the editor describes the social and intellectual context of Mill criticism, and furnishes a linking commentary to the material in each volume. The material in the collection displays the depth and breadth of high-quality scholarly and philosophical criticism of Mill's social thought. Volume One concerns Mill's arguments for the principle of Utility (the famous 'proof'), his qualitative hedonism, the significance of rules in respect of the aggregative implications of Utilitarianism, and the relation between utility and liberty. Volume Two considers debates concerning the foundations and scope of the Principle of Liberty, the nature of 'individuality', anti-paternalism, and the status of On Liberty as a liberal document. An important theme is the 'revisionary' interpretation of the Essay , initiated by John Rees and Alan Ryan, and developed by John Gray and others, according to which Mill's defense of liberty is grounded in a rights-yielding utility-based theory of justice. Volume Three deals with Mill's theory of government, including his conceptions of political authority, the scope of government, social change, socialism and empire. Volume Four covers questions of methodology and philosophy of history, autobiography, feminism and culture.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415140737
ISBN-10: 0415140730
Format: Hardback
(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Pages: 1696
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 19-Feb-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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