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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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Mill in a Liberal Landscape

Mill in a Liberal Landscape

(p.292) 15 Mill in a Liberal Landscape
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the difficulties a late twentieth-century reader will have with John Stuart Mill's liberalism as well as its differences from many contemporary—that is, late twentieth-century—liberalisms. It first lays out Mill's argument and the context of his discussion, that is, about whom the essay On Liberty was aimed at, negatively and positively. The essay was less interested in employing the principle to restrain coercion by single individuals than to restrain the coercive actions of groups. The chapter concludes by contrasting Mill's liberalism with the liberalisms of John Rawls and Isaiah Berlin in order to bring out some of the ways in which Mill was and was not a pluralist, did and did not attend to “the separateness of persons,” did and did not espouse a full-fledged teleological and ideal conception of the autonomous individual.

Keywords:   liberalism, John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, coercion, John Rawls, Isaiah Berlin

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