Philosophical Review 107 (2):337-340 (1998)

Maria Morales’s striking and thought-provoking argument in Perfect Equality is that John Stuart Mill’s egalitarianism unifies his practical philosophy and that this element of his thought has been neglected in recent revisionary scholarship. Placing Mill’s arguments for the substantive value of “perfect equality” in The Subjection of Women at the center of her analysis, Morales develops a distinctive interpretation of Mill as an egalitarian liberal. Morales also aims to counter many recent communitarian critiques of liberalism as founded upon a conception of the self as atomistic and individualistic. Like other Mill scholars, Morales sees Mill’s liberalism as an appealing alternative to the dominant Rawlsian theory, and she offers Mill’s approach as a response to “the still popular view that liberalism is structurally incompatible with a rich conception of the human good, particularly with a substantive commitment to equality”. Mill’s theory is not “doggedly individualistic,” and it rejects the model of liberal social life as atomistic and abstract. The well-constituted communities of the title are based upon “sympathetic, cooperative, and egalitarian values”.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0031-8108
DOI phr1998107245
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