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Education, Democracy and Representation in John Stuart Mill's Political Philosophy

MORRICONE, CORRADO (2016) Education, Democracy and Representation in John Stuart Mill's Political Philosophy. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis is concerned with John Stuart Mill’s democratic theory.

In chapter I, I examine the relations between political philosophy and political theory and science before providing a detailed outline of the aims of the dissertation.

In chapter II, I argue that in order to reconcile the concepts of progress and equality within a utilitarian theory, a Millian political system needs to devise institutions that promote general happiness, protect individual autonomy, safeguard society from mediocrity.

Chapter III discusses what different authors have said about Mill and liberty, then explores James Mill’s theory of education and Coleridge’s influence on John Stuart Mill’s thought. I conclude by criticising Richard Arneson’s interpretation according to which the Considerations and On Liberty are inconsistent, and some of Gregory Claeys’ conclusions on Mill and paternalism.

Chapter IV explores the methodology of the social sciences and the philosophy of history as found in Mill’s writings; then it considers Mill’s thought in regard to his father’s Radical proposals. I also discuss at some length the idea of the tyranny of the majority.

Chapter V begins with a discussion of Hanna Pitkin’s theory of representation. I then provide a critical account of Richard Krouse and Nadia Urbinati’s interpretations of Mill. I conclude by arguing that, in a Millian democracy, the higher is the degree of complexity or the need for expertise in dealing with affairs, the greater is the bearing of the principle of competence in assessing whether a representative should act as a trustee or a delegate. I also introduce the idea of rational debate as a sort of ‘influence multiplier’, arguing that this would help to make a democracy rational and effective along Millian lines.

In the last two chapters, I stress the relevance of Mill’s political philosophy as for some contemporary issues (nationalism, European federalism, current social and economic changes) while suggesting some potential further investigations, and summarise my conclusions.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:John Stuart Mill; political philosophy; education; democracy; representation;
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Jul 2016 15:44

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