London: John W. Parker and Son, 1859. First edition. 8vo; collates: 207, [1, colophon], [8, ads]; complete. A Fine copy in the publisher's purple bindstamped cloth, completely uncut and unopened. Previous owner's name on the title page, minor toning to spine, otherwise the copy is pristine.
An extremely influential work in political philosophy and the foundation for all branches of liberalism. The author argues that "over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign." An extension of which is the harm principle, first outlined in this work: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." One conclusion of this argument is that people should have the freedom to pursue their interests, even if damaging to themselves morally or physically, as long as they are not harming others. While these concepts are quite commonplace within democracy today, they were radical in their day, breaking new ground in political theory. PMM 345. Housed in a custom clamshell box. Additional images available upon request. Fine (Item #534)
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