John Stuart Mill On Liberty Analysis

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John Stuart Mill was a transitional thinker with a classical utilitarian philosophy. He was a programmatic thinker with a lifelong project to reconstruct the classical utilitarianism. In this collection of On Liberty and Other Essays, Mill is representing his central moral and political concerns for his time. On Liberty is the first essay in the book, followed by other essays such as Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, and then lastly Considerations on Representative Government. John Stuart Mill in his On Liberty essay breaks it up into five chapters supporting his argument that liberty is what is best for mankind and that society should only have power to control actions that directly affect it or harms its members. In this paper, I will…show more content…
People should not be allowed to limit or silence anyone else’s thoughts and expression of these thoughts. By silencing a person for a particular opinion would be hurting humanity. Mill claims, “if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true.” Mill is claiming that any suppressed opinion could be true, and no one has the authority to decide that others should not be able to hear these opinions. For this would hurt humanity because one human being does not have the authority to decide an issue for all. This would keep others from coming up with their own opinions on the subject. Mill also claims that the silence opinion might contain a portion of truth. By silencing the opinion, it would hurt humanity in that the whole truth does not have a chance of being brought forth because a portion would be missing. This is limiting the liberty of discussion because discussing an opinion can bring out the errors of the opinion but bring out the truth it can hold for a different opinion. By having liberty of thoughts and discussion other truths can be brought forth and discussed. If true opinion is not debated the meaning of the opinion can be lost. Truth could also be somewhere in between two opinions and if these opinions, or even one, is suppressed the real truth cannot be found. Another argument Mill has in favor of the liberty of thought is that if truth is…show more content…
This would be challenging Mill’s views liberty of the limits of authority on a society. Since Mill believes that society should step in when there is harm to others and the actions affect the society as a whole, he would see the laws on gun control as a challenge for this liberty because a majority of society wants these laws to be changed and when the majority wants a change society is supposed to step in and help make it happen. Also, since school shootings and gun control are affecting the society as a whole with many deaths and protests are now taking place to have more restrictions on guns, this would be challenging the liberty since society is not making a change to benefit the whole of society that is currently being harmed. However, those protesting are using their rights and fulling Mill’s view on the liberty of thoughts and discussion by making their ideas heard and getting the opinions of others in a peaceful way that does not harm others. Also, it reflects his view of the liberty of individuals and originality since these discussions and protests bringing new ideas to focus. Furthermore, pointing out “when what was once truths are no longer true.” The protests are bringing forth points that a law that was placed years ago no longer benefits the society as a whole but rather harms it. These laws were once beneficial but now need to be changed to benefit the whole society and prevent
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