Paperback, 192 pages

English language

Published Dec. 20, 2006 by Longman.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

On Liberty is a philosophical essay by the English philosopher John Stuart Mill. Published in 1859, it applies Mill's ethical system of utilitarianism to society and state. Mill suggests standards for the relationship between authority and liberty. He emphasizes the importance of individuality, which he considers prerequisite to the higher pleasures—the summum bonum of utilitarianism. Furthermore, Mill asserts that democratic ideals may result in the tyranny of the majority. Among the standards proposed are Mill's three basic liberties of individuals, his three legitimate objections to government intervention, and his two maxims regarding the relationship of the individual to society. On Liberty was a greatly influential and well-received work. Some classical liberals and libertarians have criticized it for its apparent discontinuity with Utilitarianism, and vagueness in defining the arena within which individuals can contest government infringements on their personal freedom of action. The ideas presented in On Liberty have remained the …

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Balance is Key

3 stars

Mill makes the case that individual liberties should be as great as possible up until the point where they infringe on other people's liberties. He readily admits that defining exactly where the line is is a difficult task, and ultimately says very little of value except when providing concrete examples. When he does provide his personal opinion, however, it is usually fairly reasonable and does not over simplify things.

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  • Human rights
  • Philosophy
  • Textbooks
  • Criticism
  • Political
  • Philosophy / General
  • General
  • 1806-1873.
  • Liberty
  • Mill, John Stuart,
  • On liberty