Frederick Rosen presents an original study of John Stuart Mill's moral and political philosophy. He explores a range of key themes across the breadth of Mill's works, and considers Mill's complex relationships with his contemporary thinkers; the traditional sources on which he drew; and his influence on major thinkers of recent centuries.
This book presents a new interpretation of the principle of utility in moral and political theory based on the writings of the classical utilitarians from Hume to J.S. Mill. Discussion of utility in writers such as Adam Smith, William Paley and Jeremy Bentham is included.
Piety is not a theme that normally attracts the modern mind. In our own age rebellion has a more prominent position and the theme of impiety strikes a more sympathetic note. We are led to examine Plato's Euthyphro as much for the hints we find on the subject of impiety as for whatever it might contain on the seemingly drab subject of the holy. The Euthyphro is also a dialogue concerned with justice, a recurrent theme in the Platonic corpus, and (...) it questions the accepted relationship of justice to piety and orthodoxy. The secular implications of the argument, which seem to be the more important to Socrates, himself, are as relevant to modern politics and religion as they were to the life of ancient Athens. (shrink)
Most recent discussions of John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic (1843) neglect the fifth book concerned with logical fallacies. Mill not only follows the revival of interest in the traditional Aristotelian doctrine of fallacies in Richard Whately and Augustus De Morgan, but he also develops new categories and an original analysis which enhance the study of fallacies within the context of what he calls ‘the philosophy of error’. After an exploration of this approach, the essay relates the philosophy of error (...) to the discussion of truth and error in chapter two of On Liberty (1859) concerned with freedom of thought and discussion. Drawing on Socratic and Baconian perspectives, Mill defends both the traditional study of logic against Jevons, Boole, De Morgan, and others, as well as the study of fallacies as the key to maintaining truth and its dissemination in numerous fields, such as science, morality, politics, and religion. In Mill’s view the study of fallacies also liberates ordinary people to explore the truth and falsity of ideas and, as such, to participate in society and politics and develop themselves as progressive beings. (shrink)
This essay considers the relationship between crime, punishment and individual liberty in three main thinkers of the Enlightenment: Montesquieu, Beccaria and Bentham. It examines the development of the idea of a proportion between crime and punishment and challenges the view that the eighteenth-century Enlightenment was engaged in the creation of a new form of oppression through a system of rational punishment which was intended to replace that of the medieval period.
The classical utilitarian legacy of Jeremy Bentham, J. S. Mill, James Mill, and Henry Sidgwick has often been charged with both theoretical and practical complicity in the growth of British imperialism and the emerging racialist discourse of the nineteenth century. But there has been little scholarly work devoted to bringing together the conflicting interpretive perspectives on this legacy and its complex evolution with respect to orientalism and imperialism. This volume, with contributions by leading scholars in the field, represents the first (...) attempt to survey the full range of current scholarly controversy on how the classical utilitarians conceived of 'race' and the part it played in their ethical and political programs, particularly with respect to such issues as slavery and the governance of India. The book both advances our understanding of the history of utilitarianism and imperialism and promotes the scholarly debate, clarifying the major points at issue between those sympathetic to the utilitarian legacy and those critical of it. (shrink)
The four essays in this volume examine the most central issues that face liberal democratic regimes. They tackle the protection of individual liberty, the basic principles of ethics, the benefits and the costs of representative institutions, and the central importance of gender equality in society.
I am grateful to Professor Lyons for his comments on several aspects of Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill and to the Review Editor of Utilitas for inviting me to reply. I hope that Professor Lyons will not object to my first pointing out to the reader that the book consists mainly of a series of substantial chapters on philosophers who have not always been regarded as utilitarian thinkers, such as Hume, Smith and Helvétius, or have been interpreted as utilitarians (...) in different, if not opposing, ways, such as Paley, Bentham and J. S. Mill. A main feature of the book is to show that what links their approaches to utility is the presence of Epicureanism in their writings, and I attempt to uncover a more coherent tradition employing the idea of utility than scholars have hitherto believed existed. (shrink)
A journey usually has a starting point and a destination. In this brief essay only a portion of this journey can be discussed: that which begins with Mill’s search for a new conception of liberty which he first developed in Principles of Political Economy (1848) and then considered in another context in On Liberty (1859). Here, we shall confine our attention to the concepts that enabled Mill to make this journey. We shall conclude by considering the question of whether or (...) not Mill should be considered a believer in a socialist ideology. There is no simple answer to this question. It will be argued that part of the problem lies less with the kind of socialism that might appeal to Mill and more with Mill’s conception of his role in public life as a logician and philosopher rather than as a public moralist advancing ideological views. (shrink)
The tendency to see English utilitarianism as a fundamentally different enterprise from that of the so-called Scottish Enlightenment is mistaken. One must read Hume backwards, which, despite Hume’s own advice, is rarely done by Hume scholars. In doing so, one more fully appreciates the importance of utility to Hume, and Bentham’s subsequent employment of Hume’s ideas.
Este artículo se centra en las Consideraciones sobre el Gobierno Representativo y en el aparente abandono que llevaría a cabo John Stuart Mill en esta obra de su radicalismo. Las Consideraciones son un importante trabajo que desafía a la mayoría de los tratados de política, dejando a un lado toda explicación fundacional de la sociedad política, incluso la utilitarista. La metodología de las Consideraciones se centra, sorprendentemente, en la evaluación del papel de la virtud en la vida de las personas, (...) así como en la defensa de la importancia de la idea de “carácter activo”. Finalmente, se analizan en este trabajo la sposiciones millianas en las Consideraciones sobre un “amplio número de aspectos del Gobierno popular”: el voto secreto, la elección y destitución popular de los jueces, latirnaía de las mayorías, el sufragio universal, así como la posibilidad de una política regresiva aún dentro de un gobierno representativo. (shrink)