Summary

First published in 1859, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty is an exhaustive exploration of social and civic liberty, its limits, and its consequences. Mill's work is a classic of political liberalism that contains a rational justification of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state. Drawing upon the empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume, and the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham, On Liberty defends the representative democracy as the culmination of society's progression from lower to higher stages, even as it recognizes one of the unique dangers of this type of government - namely, the "tyranny of the majority".
Central to Mill's ideology is the harm principle - the idea that individual liberties should only be curtailed when they harm or interfere with the ability of others to exercise their own liberties. Unlike other liberal theorists, Mill did not rely upon theories of abstract rights to support his ideology, but rather grounded his philosophy in ideas of utility.
As relevant to modern audiences as it was to Mill's Victorian readership, On Liberty is an enduring classic of political thought.
Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars
By Vegard on 08-02-17

Great introduction to some aspects of liberalism

This book is a great introduction to some aspects of modern Liberalism, while not agreeing with it completely.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ray A04 on 10-06-18

The best treatise on Free Speech ever written!

Re-read”On Liberty”, for the 3rdtime. It is the greatest treatise on Free Speech ever written, published in 1859, but prescient for the politics of today.

If you've never read it, it delves into the suppression of speech by forces such as government and the tyranny of the majority (public opinion), to include the stifling of speech with the use of labels. Heresy & blasphemy were the dogmatic supression terms of the past, is ”X-phobia” the dogmatic term(s) of today? 🤔

Definitely worth reading!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By No to Statism on 12-07-18

Mostly Reasonable Dissertation

When we take into account John Stewart Mill's isolated upbringing, enforced by his father, it is not surprising that he would become the purveyor of the extraordinarily compartmentalized philosophy he shares in this volume. Though his logical conclusions are for the most part, agreeable to me; his tone is that of a man who is very self-possessed - "I know what's right, and good; so let's leave off any further discussion."

As is usually my experience with books he reads, Gildart Jackson was more than satisfactory in his reading of "On Liberty"!

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