Mill's Limitations to Individualism

Chin Liew Ten, Professor of Philosophy, National University of Singapore

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Note 18 to Chapter 6 of the author"s Mill on Liberty, which Yale University Press published in 1975. It has been included in the Victorian Web with the kind permission of the author and of the Clarendon Press, which retains copyright.

In "Individualism and Individual Liberty", J. C. Rees distinguishes between different senses of individualism, and defends Mill against the charge of false individualism. As Rees points out, Mill was alive to the fact that "so long as individuals retained their power of choice and decision" there is "the permanent possibility of conflict" between the individual and the society or the state. For a helpful analysis of the different senses of individualism, see also Steven Lukes.

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Last modified 18 April 2001