Rights to Liberty in Purely Private Matters

  title={Rights to Liberty in Purely Private Matters},
  author={Jonathan David Charles Riley},
  journal={Economics and Philosophy},
  pages={121 - 166}
  • J. Riley
  • Published 1 October 1989
  • History
  • Economics and Philosophy
John Stuart Mill provides a classic defense of individual and group rights to liberty with respect to purely private or self-regarding matters: The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself … directly, and in the first instance, … his independence is, of right, absolute.… From this liberty of each individual, follows the liberty, within the same limits, of combination among individuals… 

Rights to Liberty in Purely Private Matters: Part II

  • J. Riley
  • History
    Economics and Philosophy
  • 1990
A claim that certain purely private matters should be beyond the reach of society's laws, moral rules, and other customs is central to the distinctive liberalism of John Stuart Mill. On Liberty,

Liberty, equality, and impossibility: some general results in the space of ‘soft’ preferences

This paper is concerned with examining the mutual compatibility of the ethical principles of equity and liberty in a social choice framework of ordinally formulated vague preferences. With

Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome?

John Rawls's work (1971) has greatly contributed to rehabilitating equality as a basic social value, after decades of utilitarian hegemony,particularly in normative economics, but Rawls also

Between liberalism and democracy

Rights: Why do they matter, and to whom?

Following Sen, social choice theorists often formulate rights in terms of relationships between individuals' preferences and social preferences. An alternative “procedural” formulation treats rights

Diversity and rights: a social choice-theoretic analysis of the possibility of public reason

It is shown that though perspectival diversity appears to be a troubling problem for the prospect of stable social order, if rights are defined properly then disagreements can likely be resolved in a consistent manner, achieving social cooperation rather than conflict.

Social Choice and the Grammar of Rights and Freedoms

The techniques of social choice and game theory are increasingly being used to analyse concepts in political theory. Although these techniques may prove invaluable for teasing out contradictory

How Liberalism Kills Democracy or Sen's Theorem Revisited

First, a general qualification rule based on individualpreferences is proposed which allows any given coalition todistinguish among its members some individuals who are said tobe qualified by it



The limits of liberty: between anarchy and Leviathan

""The Limits of Liberty" is concerned mainly with two topics. One is an attempt to construct a new contractarian theory of the state, and the other deals with its legitimate limits. The latter is a

The limits of state action

The Limits of State Action, by "Germany's greatest philosopher of freedom," as F. A. Hayek called him, has an exuberance and attention to principle that make it a valuable introduction to classical

On the Possibility of Liberal Democracy

  • J. Riley
  • Economics
    American Political Science Review
  • 1985
A complex liberal version of utilitarianism is introduced which bears similarities to John Stuart Mill's moral and political philosophy and offers a promising approach to liberal democratic theory.

Liberty, Preference, and Choice

  • R. Sugden
  • Philosophy
    Economics and Philosophy
  • 1985
Ever since its first publication in 1970, Amartya Sen's paper “The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal” (reprinted in Sen, 1982) has served as the starting point for almost all discussions of liberty

The Enforcement of Morals

There may be a point in reviewing the controversy occasioned by Lord Justice Devlin's Maccabaean lecture from an American point of vantage. For the Justice's brilliant and original paper has been

Four Essays on Liberty

The four essays are `Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century'; `Historical Inevitability', which the Economist described as `a magnificent assertion of the reality of human freedom, of the role of

Rights, Games and Social Choice

It has been argued by Amartya Sen that two of the most fundamental principles in evaluating social states-the Pareto principle and the libertarian claim-conflict with each other.' The Pareto

Freedom of choice: Concept and content

Mill On Liberty

This detailed and sympathetic, but not uncritical, study of On Liberty' argues for the general consistency and coherence of Mill's defence of individual liberty, but maintains that there are

Collective Choice and Social Welfare