Equal Freedom and Utility

Equal Freedom and Utility

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This rich and provocative study assesses Herbert Spencer's pivotal contribution to the emergence of liberal utilitarianism and shows that Spencer, as much as J. S. Mill, provided liberal utilitarianism with its formative contours. Like Mill, Spencer tried to reconcile a principle of liberty and strong moral rights with a utilitarian, maximizing theory of good. In this powerful and sympathetic account, David Weinstein argues that Spencer's moral and political thought exhibits greater systematic integrity than received views of his thought acknowledge. However, Weinstein also examines the problems and flaws in Spencer's version of liberal utilitarianism, and shows that, precisely because of these flaws, it is engaging and deserving of our critical attention. This challenging study will be of interest to graduates and scholars in the fields of political theory, moral and political philosophy, and the history of political thought.Moral thinking is thus revealed as something that we do in concert, though each individual has to play his own part. ... those moral principles preferred by others so that each of us enjoys maximum freedom to satisfy his or her preferences compatible with the like freedom of all others to satisfy theirs. ... Hence, according to Riley, how can we know when we ought to think morally by applying the principle of universalizability as opposed to when we are permitted to do as we please?

Title:Equal Freedom and Utility
Author:David Weinstein
Publisher:Cambridge University Press - 2006-11-02


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