The Propriety of Liberty

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-10-18
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

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In this book, Duncan Kelly excavates, from the history of modern political thought, a largely forgotten claim about liberty as a form of propriety. By rethinking the intellectual and historical foundations of modern accounts of freedom, he brings into focus how this major vision of liberty developed between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries.In his framework, celebrated political writers, including John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Hill Green pursue the claim that freedom is best understood as a form of responsible agency or propriety, and they do so by reconciling key moral and philosophical claims with classical and contemporary political theory. Their approach broadly assumes that only those persons who appropriately regulate their conduct can be thought of as free and responsible. At the same time, however, they recognize that such internal forms of self-propriety must be judged within the wider context of social and political life. Kelly shows how the intellectual and practical demands of such a synthesis require these great writers to consider freedom as part of a broader set of arguments about the nature of personhood, the potentially irrational impact of the passions, and the obstinate problems of individual and political judgement. By exploring these relationships,The Propriety of Libertynot only revises the intellectual history of modern political thought, but also sheds light on contemporary debates about freedom and agency.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction: The Propriety of Libertyp. 1
The Self at Libertyp. 6
Liberty and Political Theoryp. 9
Structurep. 12
'That glorious fabrick of liberty': John Locke, the Propriety of Liberty and the Quality of Responsible Agencyp. 20
Propriety, Prudence and Interpretationp. 21
John Locke and Pierre Nicole: Language, Prudence and the Propriety of the Passionsp. 24
Liberty and the Willp. 41
Persons, Passions and Judgementp. 46
Liberty and Personal Identityp. 53
Passionate Liberty and Commercial Selfhood: Montesquieu's Political Theory of Moderationp. 59
Justicep. 61
Lessons in Classics: Politics, Friendship and Despotismp. 68
The Passions of the Soul and the Actions of the Machinep. 82
Moderation and Soulcraft: The Action of PassionateSelfhoodp. 88
Legislative Passions and Civil Religionp. 94
Commercial Society and Political Libertyp. 105
'The True Propriety of Language': Persuasive Mediocrity, Imaginative Delusion and Adam Smith's Political Theoryp. 117
Persuasive Agencyp. 119
Sympathy and Proprietyp. 128
A Passion for Justice: Smith's Political Theoryp. 141
The Origins of Government and the Paradoxes of Political Libertyp. 159
Conclusionsp. 167
Taking Things as They Are: John Stuart Mill on the Judgement of Character and the Cultivation of Civilizationp. 173
Liberty by Examplep. 175
Greek Legaciesp. 186
Civilization, Civility, Cooperationp. 194
Excursus: Republicanism, Radicalism and Representationp. 204
The Politics of Civilizationp. 210
Propriety in Timep. 218
Idealism and the Historical Judgement of Freedom: T. H. Green and the Legacy of the English Revolutionp. 223
Character and Actionp. 226
Reformation and Revolutionp. 234
Enthusiasm and Reformp. 241
Real freedomp. 244
Political Theologyp. 249
The Revolutionary Inheritancep. 255
Coda: Liberty as Proprietyp. 259
Problems of Self-Ownershipp. 261
Responsible Agencyp. 269
State Proprietyp. 273
Bibliographyp. 277
Indexp. 341
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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