In his wonderfully clear and cogent essay On Liberty, Mill contends that individuals should be as free as possible from interference by government. Proposing that individual fulfilment is the surest route to collective happiness, he argues passionately against the "tyranny of the majority," and sets out to create an alternative view of a practical politics that sets proper limits on the powers of government and society.
The result, Mill argues, will be not only greater freedom, but also improved social progress. He reached these conclusions by re-interpreting a large body of existing political and philosophical thought – introducing insights drawn from several different schools of thought, and thereby creating an unparalleled defense of classic liberal principals. Much of the clarity of thought that Mill has become celebrated for is the product of his ability to explain meaning, define terms, and highlight problems and issues of definition – making him an exemplar of high quality interpretive thinking.
Ways in to the text Who was John Stuart Mill? What does On Liberty Say? Why does On Liberty Matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited
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