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Equal Freedom and Utility
Herbert Spencer's Liberal Utilitarianism

£33.99

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521026864

£ 33.99
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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Unique study which is the first to examine Spencer's critical role in the development of liberal moral and political philosophy in the nineteenth century
    • Underscores the similarities between Spencer and J. S. Mill
    • Suggests that Spencer's image as a social Darwinist is a caricature
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Weinstein effectively dispels the longstanding view of Spencer as a relic of a bygone age. His restatement of Spencer's theory as a contribution to recent 'liberal utilitarian' thought does much to bring him to life and makes this book essential reading for contemporary political theorists.' Political Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521026864
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.391kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    David Weinstein, Wake Forest University, North Carolina

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