Individualism and the Social Order: The Social Element in Liberal Thought, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Individualism and the Social Order

The Social Element in Liberal Thought, 1st Edition

By Charles McCann


248 pages

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Liberalism is typically misconceived as a philosophy of individualism, which cannot accept that man exists in society and that man's values are shaped by that society.

This book attempts to identify the role of community and society in the political and social thought of leading liberal social philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries including John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Friedrich A. von Hayek. While differing as to the nature of man and society, each thinker examined holds the basic premise that man is not an isolated creature whose life is 'nasty, brutish and short' but rather that his motivations are dependent upon his place in a social order.

Table of Contents


1. Forms of Community

2. Mill and Libertarian Liberalism

3. Stephen and Conservative Liberalism

4. Spencer and the Evolution of Moral Society

5. Sumner: Tradition and Custome in the Social Order

6. Mises and the Triumph of Libertarian Ideas

7. Hayek and the Form of the Liberak Community


About the Author

Charles R. McCann is Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh. He has produced an interesting work that mixes communitarianism and economics and will surprise and intrigue in equal measure. Students and academics involved in the history of economic thought, philosophy and libertarianism will find this book to be a useful addition to their reading list.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy

In recent years, there has been widespread criticism of mainstream economics. This has taken many forms, from methodological critiques of its excessive formalism, to concern about its failure to connect with many of the most pressing social issues. This series provides a forum for research which is developing alternative forms of economic analysis. Reclaiming the traditional 'political economy' title, it refrains from emphasising any single school of thought, but instead attempts to foster greater diversity within economics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / Theory