Frederick Rosen presents an original study of John Stuart Mill's moral and political philosophy, which explores the main themes of his writings--particularly those that emerge from the two major works, System of Logic (1843) and Principles of Political Economy (1848). From these, Mill developed the more widely-read later essays, On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861), Considerations on Representative Government (1861), and The Subjection of Women (1869). He was one of the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century, and attempted to understand the political as well as intellectual struggles of his time, including those between capitalism and socialism, liberty and despotism, and Christianity and secular forces (particularly the sciences) that seemed to undermine religious belief. Rosen examines Mill's complex relationships with other contemporary thinkers (such as Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Auguste Comte, George Grote, and Harriet Taylor Mill), and his philosophical sources, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, and Hume; and goes on to illustrate Mill's influence on subsequent philosophers, logicians, and economists. Rosen considers Mill's approaches to the study of active character and happiness in his work on logic and in the study of political economy, from which new interpretations of his ideas of liberty, justice, equality, and utility follow. Many of the debates with which Mill was engaged remain part of contemporary life, and Rosen's book is a guide for exploring and resolving them. Mill's ideas, his arguments, and the versions of utilitarianism and liberalism that he developed have created a humane, civilising philosophy for our times.
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Frederick Rosen is Professor Emeritus of the History of Political Thought and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Bentham Project, University College London. In 1983 he became General Editor of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham and Director of the Bentham Project at University College London, a post he held for several decades. He has published numerous books and articles, including Jeremy Bentham and Representative Democracy: A Study of the Constitutional Code (OUP, 1983), Bentham, Byron, and Greece: Constitutionalism, Nationalism, and Early Liberal Political Thought (OUP, 1992), and Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill (Routledge, 2003). He is the founder of the journal Utilitas, co-editor with J. H. Burns of Jeremy Bentham's Constitutional Code, Volume I (OUP, 1983), and as General Editor and Joint General Editor (with P. Schofield) published fourteen volumes in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham (OUP, 1984-2003).
"This is a valuable study of Mill's social and political thought. Frederick Rosen brings a lifetime of study of utilitarian thought, especially of Jeremy Bentham, so he can put Mill's thought into a historical context. He also brings a fresh interpretation to Mill's writings."--Henry R. West, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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