On Liberty | Study Guide

John Stuart Mill

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

Mill starts with a simple question: In the modern era how is it possible to justify societal and individual action? For answers he develops a main precept, that an individual should be free to do whatever they can so long as no harm comes to others. From that single idea Mill shows that both individual and social greatness are possible. Philosophy of Individual Freedom KEY CONCEPTS Context Liberty Individual liberty is the single measure Mill uses to build his philosophy of society. Utilitarianism The justification for using liberty as the basis for society is its utility. Main Ideas Truth Mill argues that basic freedoms, like freedom of speech, are justified because they can lead to the truth. ut 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. John Stuart Mill, Chapter 2 Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Copyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc. Year when Mill met his life partner, cothinker, and coauthor of On Liberty, Harriet Taylor 1830 Years Mill worked for the British East India Company >30 Year Mill had a mental breakdown at age 20 and began a quest for personal and social meaning 1826 Age at which Mill began learning Greek 3 On Libertyby the Numbers A philosopher, agent for the British East India Company, and member of Parliament, Mill grew up in a vibrant and elite intellectual community. As a boy he was surrounded by the leading minds of the age and was groomed by his father to become the next generation’s great radical philosopher. JOHN STUART MILL1806–73 Author Industrialization Industry, class conflict, and poverty brought new challenges to British and European societies in the 19th century. Limits of Reform Mill’s central question was how social rights should be applied in the new era. Age of Revolutions Revolution was sweeping Europe, resulting in theestablishment of modern capitalist democracies. State & Society The only proper limit to individual action is when that action brings harm to other people. Free Individuals Much like speech, free and diverse individuality contributes to the greatest flowering of society. Free Speech The fundamental basis of a successful society is the freeexchange of ideas. English Original Language 1859 Year Published John Stuart Mill Author On Liberty Philosophy Nonfiction

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