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J. S. Mill: 'On Liberty' and Other Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521379175
ISBN-10: 0521379172
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A comprehensive introduction prefaces two classic texts, On Liberty and The Subjection of Women and the posthumously published Chapters on Socialism in this anthology of the celebrated Scottish philosopher's works.

About the Author

John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, politician and economist most famous for his contributions to the theory of utilitarianism. The author of numerous influential political treatises, Mill s writings on liberty, freedom of speech, democracy and economics have helped to form the foundation of modern liberal thought. His 1859 work, On Liberty, is particularly noteworthy for helping to address the nature and limits of the power of the state over the individual. Mills has become one of the most influential figures in nineteenth-century philosophy, and his writings are still widely studied and analyzed by scholars. Mills died in 1873 at the age of 66.

Stefan Collini is Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge. Most recently he is author of ''The Chatto List': Publishing Literary Criticism in Mid-Twentieth-Century Britain', (Review of English Studies 63, 2012) and What Are Universities For? (2012).

Raymond Geuss is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He has taught widely in Germany and the United States, and has been an editor of the series of Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought since its inception. His previous books include The Idea of a Critical Theory (Cambridge, 1981, ISBN 0521 284228), Morality, Culture, and History (Cambridge, 1999, ISBN 0 521 635683), and Public Goods, Private Goods (Princeton, 2001). He has also published a collection of classical verse in his own English translations, Parrots, Poets, and Philosophers & Good Advice (London, 1999).

Quentin Skinner is Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Academia Europaea, and a foreign member of many other learned societies. His scholarship, which is available in more than twenty languages, has won him numerous awards, including the Wolfson Prize for History in 1979 and a Balzan Prize in 2006. His books include The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (2 volumes, 1978), Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (1996), Liberty Before Liberalism (1998), Hobbes and Republican Liberty (2008), Forensic Shakespeare (2014) and a three-volume collection of essays, Visions of Politics (2002).
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 25, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521379172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521379175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great edition, but buyer beware! I clicked through to buy this edition but ended up receiving a much-inferior, cheap reprint of the text only - *not* the Cambridge series version. The displayed cover ("Click to Look Inside") does not match the text.
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Format: Paperback
1. Introduction
John Stuart Mill opens his first chapter by establishing the sole basis of his moral system: "I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being" (¶ 11). His philosophy thus holds that actions are right in proportion to their tendency to promote happiness, and wrong in proportion to their tendency to promote unhappiness. Happiness is equivalent to pleasure and the absence of pain; unhappiness is equivalent to pain and the privation of pleasure. In this way, utilitarianism sets out a basic system to determine the morality of all actions, both private and public, individual and societal. On this basis, John Stuart Mill, in his essay On Liberty, sets out to define the proper limits of government and society on the freedom of the individual.

2. On Liberty
a. Liberty
John Stuart Mill opens his essay by defining the subject he will explore: "the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual" (¶ 1). This, he calls "Civil, or Social Liberty." The problem he will explore is the "struggle between Liberty and Authority," which is "the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar" (¶ 2). He explores the extent to which man's liberty may properly be checked by authority and he outlines the ways in which liberty is threatened by various tyrannies, such as the "tyranny of the political rulers" and the "tyranny of the majority" (social tyranny).
For Mill, liberty permits man to act as he wishes when no harm falls upon other people.
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Had to read for class, but will read again. Mill's writing isn't the clearest however his explanation and understanding/frustration of/with Victorian England is remarkable. One of my favorite political philosophers of the era
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As expected
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