The Moral and Political Philosophy of John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill remains one of the most influential of Anglophone philosophers, exerting a profound background influence on, especially, discussions on individual freedom and the boundaries of legitimate legal prohibitions. This seminar will address his treatment of these issues in his classic work On Liberty, and on his attempt to give the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham a more noble aspect in his Utilitarianism and "Essay on Bentham". Time permitting, attention will also be given to some of Mill's other essays, in particular The Subjection of Women, and to the conventional utilitarian criticism of his views by James Fitzjames Stephen in Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

This seminar will consist of seven weeks of double sessions. (The short duration means that the first session will be full-length.) Preliminary reading is not necessary, but is of course an advantage. So to be best prepared, some preliminary acquaintance with Mill’s life and works is recommended. (On Liberty and Utilitarianism are both available in the Reclam parallel texts orange series.)

NB You are very welcome in this course regardless of how good your English is. I'm sure that we'll get the message across to each other. If you have some rudiments of high-school English, you'll be fine. Linguistic deficiencies will be irrelevant. (You will not be held responsible for the lecturer’s inadequate German!)

Zeit: Freitag, 12–16 Uhr (vom 21. April bis 9. Juni)Ort:  Geb. C5 2, Raum 2.02