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Navigating by the North Star: the role of the 'ideal' in J.S. Mill's View of 'utopian' schemes and the possibilities of social transformation

Mccabe, Helen

Authors

Helen Mccabe



Abstract

The role of the 'ideal' in political philosophy is currently much discussed. These debates cast useful light on Mill's self-designation as 'under the general designation of Socialist'. Considering Mill's assessment of potential property-relations on the grounds of their desirability, feasibility and 'accessibility' (disambiguated as 'immediate-availability', 'eventual-availability' and ;conceivable-availability') shows us not only how desirable and feasible he thought 'utopian' socialist schemes were, but which options we should implement. This, coupled with Mill's belief that a socialist ideal should guide social reforms (as the North Star guides mariners), reveals much more clearly the extent of his socialist commitments (even if he thought political economists would be concerned with forms of individual property for some time to come). Moreover, this framework for assessments of 'ideal' institutions makes a useful contribution to an ongoing contemporary debate.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
Journal Utilitas
Print ISSN 0953-8208
Electronic ISSN 1741-6183
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 3
Pages 291-309
APA6 Citation Mccabe, H. (2019). Navigating by the North Star: the role of the 'ideal' in J.S. Mill's View of 'utopian' schemes and the possibilities of social transformation. Utilitas, 31(3), 291-309 . doi:10.1017/S0953820819000074
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820819000074
Publisher URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/utilitas/article/navigating-by-the-north-star-the-role-of-the-ideal-in-john-stuart-mills-view-of-utopian-schemes-and-the-possibilities-of-social-transformation/C7C299E0208DFEE9543D61BC75FE96BA
Related Public URLs https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/utilitas
Additional Information © Cambridge University Press 2019

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