Philo en langue anglaise - DEFLE - Français Langue Étrangère

Philo en langue anglaise

Crédits ECTS : 4.0

Travaux Dirigés 18h

Cours Magistral 18h

Composante : UFR Humanités

Période de l'année : Semestre 5

Formes d'enseignement : Non accessible à distance


Enseignant : Joseph Urbas

John Stuart Mill: Freedom, Feminism, and the Liberal Tradition

This course presents the political philosophy of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), the most influential British philosopher of the nineteenth century and a central figure in the liberal tradition of political thought. On Liberty (1859)—his most widely known work, and one which no student of political philosophy can afford to ignore—is a cornerstone of classical liberal theory, and The Subjection of Women (1869) constitutes a pioneering application of the theory—and of Mill's empiricism—to the question of equality between the sexes.

In the course of the semester, we will proceed in an orderly fashion through all five chapters of On Liberty before turning to a thorough reading of The Subjection of Women, making regular pauses to put Mill's thought in broader perspective, against the general background of his empiricist philosophy as well as the historical place of his thought within the liberal tradition.

The first class will be devoted to chapter one of On Liberty


  1. To familiarize students with Mill's philosophy as a whole and the place of his political writings within the classical liberal tradition.
  2. To use On Liberty and The Subjection of Women as case-studies to give students a clear sense of the historical, cultural, political, and philosophical stakes involved in the formulation of a liberal doctrine.
  3. To reinforce the method of close reading of philosophical prose in English acquired in the first-year curriculum.
  4. To accustom students to the reading of complete works of philosophy in English rather than excerpts.
  5. To strengthen discussion and writing skills in English on philosophical themes, combining both technical and everyday terms.

Contrôle des connaissances

1ère session

Etudiants en régime général : 50% contrôle continu (exercices réalisés en TD ou à la maison) +  50% examen écrit terminal.

Etudiants en régime spécial : examen écrit terminal
 2ème session (rattrapage) 

Etudiants en régime général et spécial : examen écrit terminal


Required Reading for the Class:

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty and The Subjection of Women,

Penguin Classics, ed. Alan Ryan, ISBN: 978-0-141-44147-4

Available through your local bookstore or on line at:

N.B. You must bring your personal copy of the book with you to each session.


Background Readings in English (Optional):

John Stuart Mill, Autobiography (published posthumously in 1873)

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on John Stuart Mill:

I would also recommend the following works by the foremost authority on Mill's philosophy, the British philosopher Alan Ryan:

  • The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, Humanities Press,1970
  • S. Mill (Routledge Author Guides), Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974
  • The Making of Modern Liberalism, Princeton University Press, 2012, especially "Part 3: Liberty and Progress, Mill to Popper"

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