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Alan James Ryan, FBA (born 9 May 1940) was Warden
College, Oxford, and Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford.
He was educated at Christ's Hospital, Balliol College, Oxford, and University
College, London. Elected a fellow of New College in 1969, he
returned in 1996 to take up the Wardenship. He was made a Fellow of
the British Academy in 1986.
Ryan is a recognised authority on the work of John Stuart
Mill, having contributed directly to the ‘Reversionary’ school,
which led to a re-examination of Mill’s work from the 1970s. His
academic work also takes in broader themes in political theory, including the philosophy of social
science, the nature of property, and liberalism of the 19th and 20th
Ryan has held positions at the Universities of Oxford, Essex,
Keele as well as Princeton
Ryan is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and the
Literary Supplement. Ryan can be heard here
giving a brief account of Mill's philosophy, and a defence of him
as the greatest British philosopher, on the BBC Radio 4 programme In Our Time.
- The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill (1970): an
examination of Mill's philosophy of science, its relation to his
ethical thought, and a defence of the view that Mill's work is
largely coherent, concentrating on Mill's A System of
- The Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1970): an
introduction to the philosophy of social science.
- J.S. Mill (1975): a guide through the important works
of Mill, and the themes to be found therein.
- Property and Political Theory (1984)
- Property (1987)
- Russell: A Political Life (1993)
- John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism
- Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education (1998): given
as a lecture series at the University of California, Berkeley,
contains autobiographical material.