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The Basic Writings: On Liberty/The Subjection of Women/Utilitarianism

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  135 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The writings of John Stuart Mill have become the cornerstone of political liberalism. Collected for the first time in this volume are Mill's three seminal and most widely read works: "On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism." A brilliant defense of individual rights versus the power of the state, "On Liberty" is essential reading for anyone interested in po ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Modern Library
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Brian Powell
This book includes Mill's three most popular works: "On Ethics", "The Subjection of Women", and "Utilitarianism". "On Ethics" is Mill's call for individual freedom and the need for limiting government's reach into the private lives of its citizens. This is not the brand of destructively isolationist libertarianism espoused by psychopaths like Ayn Rand, but rather a pragmatic though principled version advocating civil liberties while emphasizing the importance of social responsibility.

"The Subje
...more
Sergei Moska
On Liberty is the first philosophy book I ever read, and made a huge impact on my ~18 year old self. What seems like a simple argument became more nuanced and problematic after each reading, though, and it's only after reading it in conjunction with Utilitarianism that I was able to come to terms and resolve (to my own satisfaction, anyway), its ambiguities. The Subjection of Women is also a very fine text. If you're familiar with On Liberty and Utilitarianism, the arguments therein shouldn't co ...more
Michael
This volume contained three works: On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, and Utilitarianism. I must say that I was convinced by Mills' arguments on all three. On the first, I expected it to be perhaps too "liberal" and permissive. Though I do not believe it to be a very solid system as far as a means of governance, in that I do not feel it achievable among fragile humanity, its principles are good ideals to which to strive. On the second, while I've always believed in women's equality, I hadn't n ...more
rachelm
"On Liberty" is heavy going at times, but Mill's arguments on privacy, free speech, and limits to government control feel highly relevant in the U.S. today.

I found his defense of free speech in the second chapter to be the most moving and persuasive that I've ever come across, and a reminder of the necessity of challenging and reasoning about our own beliefs. "Truth, thus held [as received opinion, without grounds or the ability to defend it] is but one superstition the more, accidentally cling
...more
Milo
Although I think this guy more or less meant well in his theories, he is such a pseudo-feminist. Why didn't he ever listen to his wife, Harriett Taylor? She was much more on target when it came to women's stuff.

Although his theories seem fine on the surface, when you look at them from a feminist perspective, they are completely botching to equal rights.

Just another example of ivory tower syndrome. He simply was unable to write beyond anything other than his own lens.
Sarah
Mill is massively misinterpreted and misapplied which is exactly why everyone should his texts (especially “On Liberty”). When it comes to political theory, Mill is comparatively efficient with his words and yet still manages to be thorough with his logic. “The Subjection of Women” is hardly the traditional argument we see today for equal rights between the sexes; Mill’s logic rests on the revised utilitarian principles that characterize his strong empirical libertarianism.
Carrie
I have read "On Liberty" and used it for one of my philosophy classes and am planning to read "The Subjection of Women" when I have the money to purchase a copy that I can mark up and put notes in the pages.

J.S. Mill is a philiosopher that writes in a way that is still accessible even if you are not a student of philosophy. He has great depth but not impervious density and can teach a lot on both political issues and philisophical.
Lindsay
If you want to see a good fight, watch Kiran and I discuss the Subjection of Women. Its even better when we're in class and people don't know we're friends. Ha.
Bill

I must have given this a too-cursory reading -- 'cause I got nothing from it.

I'll reread it, someday. But until then: two stars.
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John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's.
More about John Stuart Mill...
On Liberty Utilitarianism On Liberty and Other Essays The Subjection of Women On Liberty and Utilitarianism

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