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John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life

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Overview


The "Art of Life" is John Stuart Mill's name for his account of practical reason. In this volume, eleven leading scholars elucidate this fundamental, but widely neglected, element of Mill's thought. Mill divides the Art of Life into three "departments": "Morality, Prudence or Policy, and Aesthetics."

In the volume's first section, Rex Martin, David Weinstein, Ben Eggleston, and Dale E. Miller investigate the relation between the departments of morality and prudence. Their papers ask whether Mill is a rule utilitarian and, if so, whether his practical philosophy must be incoherent.

The second section contains papers by Jonathan Riley and Wendy Donner, who explore the relation between the departments of morality and aesthetics. They discuss issues ranging from supererogation to aesthetic pleasure and humanity's relationship with nature.

The papers in the third section consider the Art of Life's axiological first principle, the principle of utility. Elijah Millgram contends that Mill's own life refutes his claim that the Art of Life has a single axiological first principle. Philip Kitcher maintains that Mill has a dynamic axiology requiring us to continually refine our conception of the good. In the final section, three papers address what it means to put the Art of Life into practice. Robert Haraldsson locates an 'Art of Ethics' in On Liberty that is in tension with the Art of Life. Nadia Urbinati plumbs the classical roots of Mill's view of the good life. Finally, Colin Heydt develops Mill's suggestion that we regard our own lives as works of art.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Any scholar working on Mill's practical philosophy will be interested in a number of these papers."--Notre Dame Philosophical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195381245
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/3/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ben Eggleston is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas.

Dale E. Miller is Professor of Philosophy at Old Dominion University.

David Weinstein is Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Section One
Chapter One: Mill's Rule Utilitarianism in Context, Rex Martin
Chapter Two: Interpreting Mill, David Weinstein
Chapter Three: Rules and Their Reasons: Mill on Morality and Instrumental Rationality, Ben Eggleston
Chapter Four: Mill, Rule Utilitarianism, and the Incoherence Objection, Dale E. Miller

Section Two
Chapter Five: Optimal Moral Rules and Supererogatory Acts, Jonathan Riley
Chapter Six: Morality, Virtue and Aesthetics in Mill's Art of Life, Wendy Donner

Section Three
Chapter Seven: Mill's Incubus, Elijah Millgram
Chapter Eight: Mill, Education, and the Good Life, Philip Kitcher

Section Four
Chapter Nine: Taking it to Heart: Mill on Appropriation and the Art of Ethics, Robert H. Haraldsson
Chapter Ten: An Alternative Modernity: Mill on Capitalism and the Quality of Life, Nadia Urbinati
Chapter Eleven: Mill, Life as Art, and Problems of Self-Description in an Industrial Age, Colin Heydt

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