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‘The Duty of Listening’

  • J. P. Day (a1)
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1 References to Mill's On Liberty are to the version of it contained in J.S. Mill On Liberty In Focus, Gray J. and Smith G. W. (eds) (London and New York: Routledge, 1991). This volume is referred to as ‘I’, and references within it are given by page-number, e.g. ‘I, 23’.

2 It is reprinted in Liberty: Contemporary Responses to John Stuart Mill, Pyle A. (ed.) (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1994). This volume is referred to as ‘IP, and references within it are given by page-number, e.g. ‘II, 34’.

3 I am grateful to my colleagues John Rogers and Gregory Roscow, as well as to R, for forcibly impressing this truth upon me.

4 Mossner E. C., The Life of David Hume (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1954), 116.

5 See Lemmon J., ‘Moral Dilemmas’, The Philosophical Review 71, 1962.

6 Cp.: ‘I have expos'd myself to the enmity of all metaphysicians, logicians, mathematicians, and even theologians; and can I wonder at the insults I must suffer? I have declar'd my dis-approbation of their systems; and can I be surpriz'd, if they shou'd express a hatred of mine and of my person?’ (Treatise, Bk. I, Pt. IV, Sec. VII). For all that, Hume appreciated his freedom to write and publish the Treatise. The title-pages of Bks I and II carry as a motto the following sentence of Tacitus: ‘Rara temporum felicitas, ubi sentire, quae velis; ac quae sentias, discere licet.’

7 Of six eminent British philosophers, one-half (namely, Locke, Berkeley and Mill) were theists, and one-half (namely, Hobbes, Hume and Bentham) were atheists. So theism and atheism are plainly irrelevant to philosophical eminence.

8 I am grateful to the Editor for suggesting improvements to this Discussion.

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Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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