Theology & Philosophy

Liberty in the Utilitarian Tradition


Conferees explored the history of the development of the utilitarian tradition with the purpose of assessing whether critics of this tradition have captured the essence of the central concerns that motivated classical utilitarians, and how liberty featured among such concerns.


From Liberty Fund

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

by By Adam Smith
Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. Here he develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we must use to distinguish right from…

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Additional Readings

Bentham, Jeremy. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Gloucestershire: Clarendon Press, 1907.

Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1896. (accessed April 28, 2016).

Hutcheson, Francis. An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. Edited by Wolfgang Leidhold. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2004.

Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism. Edited by George Sher. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1979.

Moore, G. E. Principia Ethica. New York: Dover Publications, 2004.

Paley, William. The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002.

Priestley, Joseph. An Essay on the First Principles of Government, and on the Nature of Political, Civil, and Religious Liberty. London: J. Johnson, 1771.

Senior, Nassau William. Political Economy. London: Richard Griffin and Co., 1854.

Sidgwick, Henry. The Methods of Ethics. London: Macmillan and Company, 1907.