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BUILDING BRIDGES ACROSS THE CHANNEL: J.S. MILL’S THEORY OF JUSTICE

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Abstract:

John Stuart Mill's theory of justice has received less critical attention than many other features of his work, and yet it constitutes a crucial part of his project to rebut Kant's and other Continental thinkers' charge that British empiricism is incapable of cultivating a genuine morality. Here I explain that the problem of justice preoccupied Mill throughout his lifetime, and that wrestling with this question directly contributes to Mill building bridges between British empiricism's and Kant's conception of the moral conscience, empiricism and romanticism's moral psychology, and empiricism’s naturalized morality and Rousseau and Kant's separation of morality and nature. Mill's reflections on the character of justice also lead him to an ever more fundamental examination on the nature of liberty.

Keywords: Adam Smith; Anglo-Scottish Liberalism; Aristotle; Coleridge; Hobbes; J.S. Mill; Kant; Liberty; Locke; Rousseau; ethics; justice; moral conscience; natural law jurists; nature; romanticism; sympathy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Tufts University, 313 Eaton Hall, Medford, MA 02155, USA., Email: rob.devigne@tufts.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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