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Equal Freedom and Utility: Herbert Spencer's Liberal Utilitarianism (Ideas in Context)

Equal Freedom and Utility: Herbert Spencer's Liberal Utilitarianism (Ideas in Context)

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David Weinstein
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Revised ed., 8/21/2008
EAN 9780521026864, ISBN10: 0521026865

Paperback, 252 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English

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.

Acknowledgements
Note on the text
Introduction
1. Social evolution
2. Social evolution and the moral psychology of equal freedom
3. Equal freedom and moral rights
4. Moral rights and utility
5. The logical coherence of Spencer's liberal utilitarianism
6. Spencer's ethical reasoning
7. Land nationalization and property
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index.