On Liberty

The Relationship between the Liberty of Thought and Discussion and Liberty in General College

Mill’s “On Liberty” is an academic work examining the presence of –and desire for- liberty in human nature and behavior, as well as the limits imposed upon such. Mill writes this text from a bias of utilitarianism and fallibilism, as he simultaneously believes that: (1) the ultimate goal of human life –the purest of actions, per se- is to bring the most good for the most people, and that; (2) humans are an imperfect species and failing to acknowledge such is assuming one’s infallibility which, as Mill sees it, is wrong. As such, the following paper will examine the relationship between liberty of thought and discussion, and liberty in general as proposed by Mill.

Firstly, and fundamentally, it must be understood what is referred to when we discuss Mill’s definition of liberty. However, a one dimensional definition cannot be offered to such a multi-dimensional concept and, necessarily, an analysis must be conducted of Mill’s thought processes in order to comprehend his perception of liberty, in its truest form. Near immediately Mill asserts that On Liberty will concern “civil, or social liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” (Mill 1859, pg 1). Thus we can...

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