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Reforming LiberalismJ.S. Mill's Use of Ancient, Religious, Liberal, and Romantic Moralities$
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Robert Devigne

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300112429

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300112429.001.0001

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Liberty and the Just Moral Conscience

Liberty and the Just Moral Conscience

(p.27) Chapter 2 Liberty and the Just Moral Conscience
Reforming Liberalism

Robert Devigne

Yale University Press

This chapter examines and analyzes Mill's focus on Plato's attempt to reconcile the goals of creative, wise individuals and the universal good. In On Liberty, for instance, Mill's central argument lies in the objectives of freedom and justice. Nineteenth-century philosophers and commentators on Plato focused on the theme of freedom and the general good, a theme that Mill himself would also be concerned with. The chapter examines writings that focus and center on moral theory, particularly Mill's assessment of Plato's moral teachings, Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments, and Kant's conception of the moral conscience. It explains how Mills would confront Plato's moral theory with the purpose of developing a conception of justice that would challenge Kant's position. It explores all the positions that Mill tool in order to fulfil his project of harmonizing the cultivation of self-defining, self-commanding individuals and the development of higher modes of social unity.

Keywords:   On Liberty, objectives of freedom and justice, general good, moral theory, Plato's moral teachings, Adam Smith, theory of moral sentiments, moral conscience, Kant

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