Mill and Marx: Human Nature, the Individual and Freedom

Dissertation, Keele University (United Kingdom) (1989)

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Available from UMI in association with The British Library. ;John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx both understood real human freedom as self-determination. The following study will show that although the origins of these two notions of freedom are widely divergent, they are nevertheless similar in terms of the vision they incorporate of a fully emancipated existence. As both Mill and Marx were system builders in true nineteenth century fashion, I situate their conceptions of freedom within their general social sciences and begin by assessing the content of their respective theories of human nature. This assessment reveals the methodological foundations of their systems and the impact they have on their understanding of the formation of human character. It also exposes certain inconsistencies which are later shown to have detrimental effects on their propositions regarding social progress. The second part of the study concentrates on Mill's and Marx's analysis of unfreedom in their own time and their different approaches to the task of securing liberty. It will be suggested that both thinkers compromised their commitment to freedom as self-determination; Mill became increasingly susceptible to elitist institutional arrangements; Marx dismissed too easily consideration of morality and rights. However, it will be proposed that the stronger elements of both views may in fact complement one another
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