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On Liberty study guide

On Liberty study guide - Mills On Liberty outline Life May...

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Mill’s On Liberty outline Life: - May 20 th 1806 – May 8 1873 - Rigorous upbringing w/ little association w/ other kids - Father, James Mill, wanted him to carry on the utilitarianism cause after he & Jeremy Bentham passed away; educated by father - Intensive study led to poor mental health & suffered nervous breakdown at age 22; his intense studying growing up suppressed most of his emotions but eventually his depression wore off - Worked for British East India Co & Liberal Member of Parliament - Advocated women’s rights & political/social reforms - Married to Harriet Taylor; greatly influenced him; mentions in On Liberty I. Chap I - Introduction - Subject of essay: nature & limits of power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual - civil liberty – limit that must be set on society’s power over each individual - evolution of liberty – o protection from tyranny of political rulers; inherited/conquested rule o rulers became servants as tyrannical majority forced will upon minority now, rulers should identify w/ people, their interest & will should be interest & will of the nation (7) “tyranny of the majority” - “the will of the most numerous or he most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority” (8) “social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression” (8) “there is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion w/ individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment…” habits: people aren’t judge of themselves savages: those still in a state to require being taken care of by others despotism okay for barbarians (15) - object of this essay: assert one very simple o society/individual interfere with others prevent harm to others; his own good is not enough warranted (14) o over himself, over his own body & mind, the individual is sovereign - 3 types of liberty: 17 o liberty of thought & opinion o liberty of tastes & pursuits/plan our own lives o liberty to join other like minded w/out injury no society w/out these is free society has forced to compel people to conform to its notions of personal, as of social excellence (17) II. Chap II – Of Liberty of Thought & Discussion - addresses idea if a persons should be able to curtail another person’s freedom to express a divergent view - must not silence any opinion – censorship = morally wrong - 99/100- that one person should not be silenced
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- “but the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. o Right: deprived of ability to exchange error for truths o Wrong; benefit for clearer perception & livelier impression of truth - popularity doesn’t equal correct; so freedom of opinion is needed - dissent preserves truths hidden behind prejudices - Three possibilities o 1. true: certainty claims infallibility; judgment was given to men & should use it
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