J. S. Mill’s Communal Utilitarian Self: A Critique of Gray, Anschutz, and Woolf’s Radically Individualistic Interpretations

International Philosophical Quarterly 49 (2):173-184 (2009)
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This article presents a reading of Mill in which his view of self is social rather than individualistic. I will provide criticisms of the radically-individualist interpretations of Mill offered by John Gray, R. P. Anschutz, and Robert Wolff. Gray and Anschutz get Mill wrong from the right, and Wolff gets Mill wrong from the left. Mill’s individualism has at times been overstated, leading to a neglect of the importance that he places on positive community influence of moral agents. This heavy emphasis on individual detachment can lead to an (intended or not) impression that Mill’s individual is thoroughly atomistic. An overemphasis on the individualism in Mill neglects the importance of community’s role in nurturing the individual to be united with fellow citizens, to develop sympathetic affections, and to be integrated into a unified web of corroborative associations



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Andrew Gustafson
Creighton University

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In Defense of a Utilitarian Business Ethic.Andrew Gustafson - 2013 - Business and Society Review 118 (3):325-360.

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