The Arguments of On Liberty: Mill's Institutional Designs

Nineteenth-Century Prose 47 (1):121-156 (2020)
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This paper addresses the question of whether all that unites the main parts of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty—the liberty principle, the defense of free discussion, the promotion of individuality, and the claims concerning individual competence about one’s own good—is a general concern with individual liberty, or whether we can say something more concrete about how they are related. I attempt to show that the arguments of On Liberty exemplify Mill’s institutional design approach set out in Considerations of Representative Government and related works. Mill’s approach reflects both his debt to Bentham and his own progressive development of the utilitarian tradition. The paper proceeds by setting out the elements of Mill’s institutional designs and then showing that On Liberty neatly applies them, thereby clarifying the structure of the arguments of On Liberty.
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Archival date: 2020-08-27
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