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Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment$
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Laurence Brockliss and Ritchie Robertson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783930

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783930.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 September 2021

Isaiah Berlin, J. S. Mill, and Progress

Isaiah Berlin, J. S. Mill, and Progress

(p.121) 9 Isaiah Berlin, J. S. Mill, and Progress
Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment

Alan Ryan

Oxford University Press

Isaiah Berlin’s essay on ‘John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life’ dates from 1959, and forms—literally and logically—part of the five essays collected in Liberty (formerly Four Essays on Liberty). 1959 was the centenary of the publication of Mill’s On Liberty; a year earlier Berlin delivered his inaugural lecture as Chichele Professor of Political Thought: ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’. ‘Two Concepts’ attracted an enormous amount of attention that continues to this day; the lecture on Mill did not. This essay does two things: the first to point up the characteristic way in which Berlin tackled his targets—highly subjective, the approach descriptive not analytical, relying on character painting with broad strokes of bright colour; the second is to suggest that engaging as the result is, it is not the most fruitful way to engage with a thinker as fastidious and as philosophically careful as Mill.

Keywords:   J. S. Mill, liberalism, Bentham, pluralism, happiness

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