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On Liberty
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On Liberty [Format Kindle]

John Stuart Mill

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Présentation de l'éditeur

On Liberty is an impassioned application of author John Stuart Mill’s philosophical theory of utilitarianism, which argues that the highest state of being is that which is most useful in maximizing happiness and diminishing suffering. In On Liberty, Mill famously stresses the importance of individuality and the need to limit the power of governments over their people.

HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 558 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 108 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1491047216
  • Editeur : HarperPerennial Classics (6 mai 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00JOH5O0Q
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Difficult Read, But Well Worth It 13 mars 2014
Par Matthew - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I had to get out my highlighter to ensure I was grasping the important points. Due to the archaic language, I was forced to reread it a few times, but there are some incredibly important arguments 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. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This Should be Required Reading 10 mars 2013
Par Adam Alonzi - Publié sur
On Liberty is a brief but important work by the always brilliant John Stuart Mill. Many of the points he makes here have since become commonplace ideas in political discourse and do not sound terribly original to a modern reader. Utilitarianism has so thoroughly permeated Anglo-American political philosophy and policy making that even those who nominally subscribe to another school of thought use the concepts and terms popularized by the likes of Bentham, James Mill and JS Mill. When taken to its extreme, yes, utilitarianism can be frightening, but it is as or more rational than any other approach to policy making. Moreover, it does not prescribe a particular approach, only a very broad framework from which institutions and governing bodies can be created. He critiques close mindedness in all forms and offers plenty of criticism for democracy, yet on the other hand, he detests despotism because it allows one man, with a peculiar set of prejudices, to decide upon the fates of his subjects without their input. He is as much opposed to collective ignorance as he is to the ignorant whims of a single tyrant. This is what gives rise to the apparent contradiction that one reviewer mentioned.

School children should read this book not just because it teaches them about government, but also because it teaches them how they should think. Taking a tip from the orators of antiquity, Mill urges us all to learn the arguments of our opponents as well or better than our own. This is not just for the purpose of debate, but for our own enlightenment and, ultimately, the elevation of discourse as a whole. People are dogmatic. They have always been dogmatic and prejudiced. This includes all cultures, not just European countries or nations following the Abrahamic faiths. The New Testament, through it preaches peace, has brought on hundreds of wars; the lofty and lovely metaphysics of the Upanishads did not remove the superstitions of the average Indian; the brilliant philosophy of Plato has been misconstrued by dictators; the amoral but not immoral philosophy of Nietzsche, although admittedly ripe for perversion, has been perverted by psychopaths since its beginning. In other words, our salvation does not lie in an ideology, but in our own intelligence. The sooner we recognize this fact the better. Reason is sacred, beliefs are not.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Must read in liberal political-philosophy 6 février 2013
Par Jeremiah Dahl - Publié sur
As stated by Mill the topic of On Liberty is the role society should take in interfering with the liberty of an individual, that is, the amount of power that society may legitimately exercise over its people.

The sphere of Mill's inquiry is the system of a democracy, where the main danger to individual liberty is that of the "tyranny of the majority," in which minorities are subjected to the whims of the majority such that the "weaker members of the community" are "preyed upon by innumerable vultures." Mill's argument is that "self-government" is not "the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest."

Mill's main thesis is that society and the governing bodies have no right to interfere with the liberty of thought, action or individuality in any person save when those liberties may cause harm to others; that "over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign." This is to say that society is unable able to interfere with individuals unless they're harming somebody, not including themselves - a person has every right to do harm to themselves and society may not intervene simply for the good of the individual.

Apart from this, Mill also believes that keeping away the "tyranny of the majority" is good not only for the individuals and the minorities, but for society itself as well; that the argumentation/discussion which leads from freedom of thought is pivotal in the development of the society and truth. It is only in this that societies can avoid stagnation and people can truly learn; they must be able to see both sides of the argument (from people who truly believe them) and the ideas must be allowed to clash, thus, "genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom."

In arguing for freedom of expression Mill argues that because the opinions of the individual may be true (or at least contain some portion of truth) and because human fallibility makes it so there are none fit to judge whether the opinion is true anyway, full freedom must be granted; not only this, but because there are none fit to judge, [according to Mill] there is no absolute certainty.

This is all to lead into a sort of Hegelian system which Mill puts forth, noting that both sides of any argument generally only contain a portion of the truth and that it is only by bringing these two ideas together that the full truth can be found; a balance must be found between the ideas. The ideas must clash and in this clashing the synthesis between them will be found.

Overall Mill's text is a good read even for people today. The ideas being presented are just as relevant now as they were during Mill's time, such the fact that the voice of third parties is all but crushed in the US's two party system or the discussions over gay marriage, abortion, or even something as small as free speech zones on college campuses. All of these feed back into the issue being discussed by Mill, that is, how much power society should be able to wield over its members and just what is the nature and extent of our liberty.

Memorable Quotes:

-"The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people."

-"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that."

-"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."

-"What was not wanted was that the rulers should be identified with the people, that their interests and will should be the interest and will of the nation. The nation did not need to be protected against its own will There was no fear of tyrannizing over itself."

Specific Criticisms

From a secular standpoint I'm not sure how much can be critiqued of Mill's ideas. From a Christian standpoint there are two chief issues which may be taken.

The first issue that may be taken is with the idea that `over himself the individual is sovereign.' This is exactly the mindset which Scripture rails against and sets up as the original sin, to think that we are our own sovereigns, to usurp the sovereignty of God over his creations.

The second issue which may be taken is with lack of any solid judge for truth. Simply put, the Christian would argue that God is the standard against which we measure truth, and due to his immutability he stands as a very good standard by which to judge. There is still the factor of fallibility which Mill notes, however this is not to say that truth cannot be discovered or that no statements can be set as entirely false.

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Must Read!!!! 24 mai 2013
Par Mandito - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
What can be said of a work that is so influential and already so praised? Not much. What I can provide is a helpful hint for any student who is either curious or apprehensive about reading this: read it. This may seem obvious, but as any students knows, reading suggested readings can be . . . less than pressing. However, this book will provide you with so much knowledge and insight into a topic that will pervade your education experience. Liberty, its power and limits, is the basis of this work, and Mill provides the brilliant reasoning that makes on question his or her own situation. Libertarians hold this book in high regard, and with good reason, however, this political group should not be the only ones to esteem such a crucial work in Western philosophy. If more minds actively dissected this work, as those who are being forced to read this should understand, perhaps a greater understanding of liberty and the functions of society in general would be attained.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Strong Case Against Government Interference and "Group Think" 14 avril 2014
Par Martie Canterberry - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Mill was an atheist and decidedly anti-Christian, and I state this for those who need to take this into account before reading an essay on world view. Despite this fact, John Stuart Mill would be most displeased with how Christians and religious conservatives are being vilified these days. He is definitely NOT in favor of shutting down dissenting opinions or open discussions, and the book has some potent quotes that could be applied to today's "politically correct" shenanigans. He makes a very strong case against the type of soft tyranny we are seeing today with regard to prevailing opinions on controversial topics. He clearly states that protection from government tyranny is not enough; there is also the tyranny of popular opinion toward unpopular opinion, and that people should be protected from this as well. Timely and relevant. Warning: the book is short, but it is not an "easy read." Well worth it nonetheless.
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