The Reading Room

216 years of John Stuart Mill



by Chris Loukas

The 20th of May marks the birthday of John Stuart Mill who was born in 1806, 216 years ago. He was a prolific economist, philosopher and politician who advocated for equal rights for women and individual freedom. His books like On Liberty, The Subjection of Women, Principles of Political Economy and Utilitarianism are still read to this day and have made an impact on modern society. 
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Freedom and Work in Severance


by Joy Buchanan

Are employees free when they are at work? The new science-fiction TV show Severance explores themes about workplace culture and political oppression. Severance can also be very funny, in the tradition of Dilbert and Office Space

God, Grotius, and Moral Truth: Barbeyrac’s Critique

In “God, Grotius, and Moral Truth: Part I,” I presented Grotius’s view that, if there are sound basic moral/political principles, their truth and their obligatory force do not depend upon God’s willing or commanding those principles.  I turn here to Jean Barbeyrac’s critique of Grotius’s shocking contention as this critique appears within Barbeyrac’s notes to his edition of Grotius’s The Rights of War and Peace.  I conclude with a few critical reflections upon Barbeyrac’s stance.

God, Grotius, and Moral Truth: Part I



By Eric Mack

My previous contributions to the Reading Room describe some striking, proto-liberal strands in Hugo Grotius’s early essay, The Free Sea (1609). This two-part entry begins a series of discussions of remarkable contentions about the nature of rights and justice that are advanced in Grotius’s enormously influential masterwork, The Rights of War and Peace (1625, henceforth RWP. See xxiv-xxvii of Richard Tucker’s Introduction to RWP for a discussion of how Grotius’s Rationalism in the now canonical text is somewhat muted compared the original 1625 edition.). However, rather than beginning with Grotius’s substantive claims within political philosophy, I devote this two-part entry to a higher order contention by Grotius about the nature of sound political principles.