This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

On Liberty John Stuart Mill

1126 words - 5 pages

John Stuart Mill was a great philosopher of the nineteenth century and the author of 'On Liberty.' In this writing (written in 1850), Mills voiced his ideas on individual freedom, both social and political. His intended audience is educated, healthy and 'civilized' adults. He equates our personal freedoms with the pursuit of happiness, in particular, freedom of speech and expression. Mill defines the meaning of liberty as the relationship between the State and an individual, in regards to the power the government has over an individual. He says that power needs to be guarded against if man is to develop and succeed. He argues that the government should not interfere with an individual's civil liberties as long as a person's action does not harm another. He feels that the basis of a healthy democracy is our personal right to freedom and expression without censorship. He also raises the question surrounding the limits of power that can be legally exercised by the state over an individual. In other words, where do we draw the line between individual liberty and authority? What role should government play in our lives? These questions have influenced the practices of societies throughout history and are relevant to the political climate of today and also the future.He builds his argument by tracing the struggle between liberty and authority throughout history, using Greece, Rome, and England as examples of Classical and Post Classical models. Power was either passed down by inheritance or was won through conquests (with the exception of Greece for a short period of time). There were two types of power, 1) power of the state through its laws and 2) power from popular opinion (hoi polloi). Through the evolution of civilization, the role of the state became procedural. The state became rule makers and could only punish if the rules were broken.Mill feels that the state should interfere, by imposing consequences through the law, when a person's behavior impacts others. When behavior only impacts an individual, the state should have no authority and should not intervene. Mill introduces his 'harm' principle, which basically states that the government should not interfere with an individual if he/she is only causing harm to himself/herself and does not impact others. Euthanasia, the right to die, is a relevant topic of today that which can be applied to his theory. Mill's answer to the question of how to properly balance liberty and the power of the state can be found in his theory of utility. The essence of this theory is that the greater good for the greater number of people should be the main consideration in making a choice of actions. He also says that we should not use morality as a basis for making decisions that impact the majority.If Mill were alive today he would be an advocate of euthanasia. He would argue that it is a persons individual right to choose to die with dignity when facing a painful, slow death, because it does not harm society as a...

Find Another Essay On On Liberty - John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty Essay

1451 words - 6 pages In John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Mill discusses the differences between individual independence and social control. Individual independence for Mill is being able to make your own decisions to a certain extent on the way you want to live your life. Whereas, social control is when someone who is in charge (example; the government) needs to put rules into effect so no one gets hurt. “the practical question where to place the limit--how to make

John Stuart Mill's Essay On Liberty

763 words - 3 pages John Stuart Mill's Essay On Liberty The main theme of on liberty was the individual. Everything else, society, education,government and so forth had their basis in the individuals rights to his own liberty. No one, no member of society, government, even God, if he appeared before an individual, could inforce his will upon him. That is not to say that you couldnt change someones mind through discussions, but instead, that no one had a

John Stuart Mill

1827 words - 7 pages Who is John Stuart Mill? John Stuart Mill was born on May 20, 1806, in London, England. He was mostly known for his radical views. For example, he preached sexual equality, divorce, universal suffrage, free speech, and proportional representation. He had many works of writings such as Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, The Subjections of Women, and the Three Essays of Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, and Theism.  &nbsp

Supplemental Notes on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

4495 words - 18 pages 1) Introduction: Mill's primary work on rights is On Liberty, which was published in England in 1859. John Stuart Mill was the student of his father James Mill and Jeremy Bentham, who raised him to defend the theory of Utilitarianism. John Stuart Mill was a child prodigy and a genius of historical magnitude. He began reading Greek at the age of three, and Latin at the age of eight - he went on to published important work in a wide range of

John Stuart Mill Biographical Information

1400 words - 6 pages John Stuart Mill was a very intelligent man, who not only was a great economist of his time, but he was also a philosopher, scholar, author and a political scientist. He was the “most influential English-speaking philosopher of the 19th century.” (John Mill, 1) John made a huge impact on the world. He contributed many ideas and beliefs to society. John Mill was a man of many talents, and he had the courage to hold beliefs that most people did

Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill

2492 words - 10 pages In John Stuart Mill’s work Utilitarianism, Mill is trying to provide proof for his moral theory utilitarianism and disprove all the objections against it. Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Ch. II, page 7). He calls this the “greatest happiness principle. Mill says, “No reason can be given

Utilitarianism, by John Stuart Mill

1368 words - 5 pages . Bibliography Crisp, Roger: J.S. Mill Utilitarianism, Oxford University Press, New York 1999. Crisp, Roger: Routledge philosophy guidebook to Mill on utilitarianism / Roger Crisp. London : Routledge, 1997. Mill, John Stuart: Utilitarianism in Coursepack for PY1101 Web Sources

John Stuart Mill and Utilitarianism

1586 words - 7 pages A major problem in society John Stuart Mill highlights is that there is not a set standard for judging what makes something right or wrong. Clearing these principles is one of the fundamental steps for consensus on moral thinking. Mill believes that what makes something right or wrong is based on whether it is thought of as “good”. However, this only further raises the question on what is considered good. Mill purposes the goodness as a

A Critical Analysis of John Stuart Mill’s "On Liberty"

1476 words - 6 pages /frameset.jsp?tab_group=courses&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Fcontent%2Ffile%3Fcmd%3Dview%26content_id%3D_2611856_1%26course_id%3D_271781_1%26framesetWrapped%3Dtrue>. Mill, John Stuart, and Gertrude Himmelfarb. On Liberty. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974. Print.

The idea that each person in society must be free and able to express his/her opinions taken from "On Liberty" by John Stuart Mill

1153 words - 5 pages confusion and a clearer understanding of ethics between what is right and wrong. Although Edmund Burke had a few strong points in stating the benefits of a non-liberal society, John Stuart Mill's liberal ideology was immensely more justified and produced noticeable social progress.In opposition to Burke's argument, Mill argues that individuality is a must for social improvement. In his essay titled "On Liberty", Mills states, "If all mankind minus one

John Stuart Mill: Philosopher, Economist, Author

661 words - 3 pages John Stuart Mill was a very intelligent man, who not only was a great economist of his time, but he was also a philosopher, scholar, author and a political scientist. John Stuart Mill was born on May 20th, 1806. He was born in London, United Kingdom. His father was the historian and economist, James Mill. His mother was Harriet Barrow. He started learning Greek when he was only 3 years old, and Latin at 8 years old. Mill’s father met

Similar Essays

John Stuart Mill On Liberty Essay

2027 words - 8 pages intelligent point in his essay and that his views on liberty have been essential to his world and to the world in which we live.Bibliography:Gray, S. - " On liberty in focus", London 1991.Mill, J.S. - "On liberty", John W. Parker and Son, West Strand, London 1859.

John Stuart Mill "On Liberty": "The Liberty Of Action."

1035 words - 4 pages The essay "On Liberty" written by John Stuart Mill presents the utilitarian vision of human freedom. In my essay, I am going to show what kind of actions John Stuart Mill considers unacceptable and why. In the light of comparison between the customs in the United States and Mill's utopian society, I would like to examine to what extent the United States follows similar principles of freedom. I believe that John Stuart Mill was considerably more

A Rhetorical Analysis Of "On Liberty" By John Stuart Mill

1642 words - 7 pages A Rhetorical Analysis of "On Liberty"John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher and a political economist, had an important part in forming liberal thought in the 19th century. Mill published his best-known work, On Liberty, in 1859. This foundational book discusses the concept of liberty. It talks about the nature and the limits of the power performed by society over an individual. The book also deals with the freedom of people to engage in

John Stuart Mill's On Liberty Essay

586 words - 2 pages obtained the real truth. John Stuart Mill illustrates this point in his book, On Liberty and I will discuss how he makes these certain points.      Mill claims that we may not interfere with a person’s liberty unless her or his acting freely will bring harm to others. In addition, he claims that the root cause for most of our errors in action and thought is “the fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a