John Stuart Mill's civic liberalism

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Although it is frequently overlooked, J.S. Mill's political philosophy has a significant civic component; he is a committed believer in the value of active and disinterested participation in public affairs by the citizens of liberal democracies, and he advocates a programme of civic education intended to cultivate public spirit. In the first half of this essay I present a brief but systematic exploration of his thought's civic dimension. In the second half I defend Mill's civic liberalism against various critics who have explicitly or implicitly charged that the civic and liberal components of his political philosophy are inconsistent.

Keywords: Arneson, Richard; Himmelfarb, Gertrude; Justman, Stewart; Mill, John Stuart; civic liberalism; civic republicanism; liberalism; participation; republicanism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0083, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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