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Title: Completely Free: J.S. Mill on Individuality and Sociality
Authors: DiIulio, John Peter
Advisors: Pettit, Philip N
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Autonomy
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: For generations, scholars have assumed that John Stuart Mill’s ethical, moral, and liberal doctrines are in obvious tension with one another. Even if one believes that the tension can be alleviated, the scholarly consensus is that Mill’s self-professed commitments to hedonism, utilitarianism, and liberalism cause a variety of necessary frictions in his work, and that the Mill of Utilitarianism and the Mill of On Liberty are clearly strange bedfellows. In this dissertation, I provide a systematic reading of Mill’s ethical, moral, and liberal doctrines that dissolves the apparent paradoxes of Mill’s practical philosophy. I argue that Mill was a hedonist and a utilitarian in name only; he endorsed a Grecian-Romantic conception of happiness and defended a moral theory that enjoins us, not to maximize utility, but to avoid harm. Subsequently, I contend that Mill’s liberal theory is just the social/political expression of his moral theory: the Mill of Utilitarianism and the Mill of On Liberty are not only reconcilable but practically identical to one another. In addition, I distinguish between Mill’s concepts of liberty and freedom and argue that Mill advances a republican theory of freedom as non-domination. For Mill, as long as we enjoy freedom with breadth (i.e., the right range of liberty) and depth (i.e., security against arbitrary power), we are, as he says in On Liberty, “completely free.”
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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