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Mill’s ’On Liberty’: A Critical Guide - download pdf or read online

By C. L. Ten

John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty, released in 1859, has had a robust effect on philosophical and political debates ever due to the fact its first visual appeal. This quantity of essays covers the full variety of difficulties raised in and by means of the essay, together with the idea that of liberty, the toleration of range, freedom of expression, the worth of permitting 'experiments in living', the root of person liberty, multiculturalism and the claims of minority cultural teams. Mill's perspectives were fiercely contested, and they're on the centre of many modern debates. The essays are through major students, who systematically and eloquently discover Mill's perspectives from a number of views. the quantity will attract a variety of readers together with these attracted to political philosophy and the heritage of rules.

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That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, 1 See, for example, Jeremy Bentham, Constitutional Code and Plan for Parliamentary Reform, in The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vols. ix and iii, ed. J. , Utilitarian Logic and Politics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), 53–95. 42 david o. brink against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise or even right.

CW xviii, 223–4 [i, 9]) Notice that Mill is concerned with articulating principles to apply to restrictions on liberty in various contexts. He is perhaps most interested in cases where the state uses civil or criminal law to forbid conduct and applies sanctions for noncompliance. But he is also interested here and elsewhere – for instance, in The Subjection of Women – in other sorts of cases, including those in which social groups or individuals use the threat of force or disapprobation to limit liberty and ensure conformity.

He values interaction and confrontation of rival beliefs. Without such confrontation and intellectual engagement, the beliefs of each group would stagnate. Within a cultural group there are minorities and dissidents who disagree with the majority about aspects of the cultural values and practices of the group. Mill’s general support for cultural and ethical diversity would lead him to side with the dissidents and internal minorities. His views are less clear when we discuss cases in which people choose to identify with a culture that oppresses them.

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