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On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

On Liberty (1859)

by John Stuart Mill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained.

It would be pretentious to suggest I dedicated my reading to Ahmed Merabet, yet it would be untrue to exclaim otherwise. We've drowned in debate about liberty this last week. Somehow I regard that as most encouraging. I found Mill’s treatise riveting and incisive along a number of axes which inform our means of government and private life. Mill was a shrewd historian and a brilliant writer. I gasped audibly at his conclusions and deft references. Too often Utilitarianism is wedged into confined spaces for politically conservative purposes. I have no problem with that. I suspect J.S. Mill wouldn't either. His moral remains, we should all disagree, question custom and exercise our faculties at every turn.
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  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I liked this one, but it was not as profound or as memorable as my friends told me it was, so I was a bit disappointed. Reading this book was not particularly entertaining, but gave me some background for reading other, more modern arguments related to liberty and society. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
Revisiting On Liberty was an interesting exercise. It is little wonder that it was, and, according to the introduction, is ever more so, a gospel for living as an individual. What was most challenging was to find that so much of my education has led me to read Mill as if it were gospel, agreeing at every turn with almost everything. Its simplicity may be a reason for this, but it is also evident that a liberal education cannot be anything less than based on Mill's philosophy. Ideas affecting liberty, such as the after-hours lock-out laws in Sydney, are covered by Mill. Yet contemporary ideas of libertarianism seem to deny Mill's authority on the matter. But finding my own philosophy so closely aligned with Mill's is something worthy of further challenge and reflection. That this "little book" has since become a program for governments throughout the Anglo world appears to have reached its peak, with issues such as national security throwing into conflict the ideas of Hobbes and Mill on the nature of the "good society". Yet this gospel of the liberal tradition, in my mind, at least, wins again and again when read from the lofty heights of experience which I could neither conjure nor comprehend all those years ago. Mill really is the "godfather" of the liberal tradition and, like any gospel, rewards one with each subsequent reading. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
Nice long Victorian sentences. Five stars for the scorn and contempt. ( )
  themulhern | Jan 19, 2016 |
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mill, John StuartAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ījabs, IvarsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berlin, IsaiahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Himmelfarb, GertrudeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirk, RussellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rapaport, ElizabethEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodríguez Huéscar, AntonioForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sainz Pulido, JosefaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges, is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity.
Sphere and Duties of Government.
To the beloved and deplored memory of her who was the inspirer, and in part the author, of all that is best in my writings -- the friend and wife whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest incitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward -- I dedicate this volume. Like all that I have written for many years, it belongs as much to her as to me; but the work as it stands has had, to a very insufficient degree, the inestimable advantage of her revision; some of the most important portions having been reserved for a more careful re-examination, which they are now never destined to receive. Were I but capable of interpreting to the world one half the great thoughts and noble feeling which are buried in her grave, I should be the medium of a greater benefit to it, than is ever likely to arise from anything that I can write, unprompted and unassisted by her all but unrivalled wisdom.
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The subject of this essay is not the so-called 'liberty of the will', so unfortunately opposed the misnamed doctrine of philosophical necessity; but civil, or social liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.
Orthodox Christians who are tempted to think that those who stoned to death the first martyrs must have been worse men than they themselves are ought to remember that one of those persecutors was Saint Paul.
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A single essay. Do not combine with books containing this essay in addition to others.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140432078, Paperback)

'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign'. To this 'one very simple principle' the whole of Mill's essay "On Liberty" is dedicated. While many of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, from Adam Smith to Godwin and Thoreau, had celebrated liberty, it was Mill who organized the idea into a philosophy, and put it into the form in which it is generally known today. The editor of this essay, Gertrude Himmelfarb records responses to Mill's books and comments on his fear of 'the tyranny of the majority'. Dr. Himmelfarb concludes that the same inconsistencies which underlie "On Liberty" continue to complicate the moral and political stance of liberals today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:32 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Discussed and debated from time immemorial, the issue of personal liberty went without codification until the 1859 publication of Mill's enduring and eloquent treatise. In powerful and persuasive prose, Mill asks and answers provocative questions relating to the boundaries of social authority and individual sovereignty. This new edition offers students of political science and philosophy, in an inexpensive volume, one of the most influential studies on the nature of individual liberty and its role in a democratic society.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300096100, 0300096089

Skyhorse Publishing

An edition of this book was published by Skyhorse Publishing.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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