Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Equal Freedom and Utility

Equal Freedom and Utility
Herbert Spencer's Liberal Utilitarianism


Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521026864

£ 40.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This rich and provocative study assesses Herbert Spencer's pivotal contribution to the emergence of liberal utilitarianism and shows that Spencer, as much as J. S. Mill, provided liberal utilitarianism with its formative contours. Like Mill, Spencer tried to reconcile a principle of liberty and strong moral rights with a utilitarian, maximizing theory of good. In this powerful and sympathetic account, David Weinstein argues that Spencer's moral and political thought exhibits greater systematic integrity than received views of his thought acknowledge. However, Weinstein also examines the problems and flaws in Spencer's version of liberal utilitarianism, and shows that, precisely because of these flaws, it is engaging and deserving of our critical attention. This challenging study will be of interest to graduates and scholars in the fields of political theory, moral and political philosophy, and the history of political thought.

    • Unique study which is the first to examine Spencer's critical role in the development of liberal moral and political philosophy in the nineteenth century
    • Underscores the similarities between Spencer and J. S. Mill
    • Suggests that Spencer's image as a social Darwinist is a caricature
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Weinstein effectively dispels the longstanding view of Spencer as a relic of a bygone age. His restatement of Spencer's theory as a contribution to recent 'liberal utilitarian' thought does much to bring him to life and makes this book essential reading for contemporary political theorists.' Political Studies

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521026864
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.391kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Note on the text
    1. Social evolution
    2. Social evolution and the moral psychology of equal freedom
    3. Equal freedom and moral rights
    4. Moral rights and utility
    5. The logical coherence of Spencer's liberal utilitarianism
    6. Spencer's ethical reasoning
    7. Land nationalization and property

  • Author

    David Weinstein, Wake Forest University, North Carolina

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.