On Liberty

what is mills argument in favor of individuality? why does not he approve of calvinism and similar stances?


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Mill argues in favor of individuality for multiple reasons. He believes that society has generally shown to suppress the minority opinion, instinctively (and sometimes incorrectly) discrediting the latter group.

A lack of individuality results in stagnation, as new ideas/old ideas are not created or disputed. The author gives examples of stagnant countries in England and China. According to Mill, opposing viewpoints often reveal that each side holds a bit of truth; combined, truth can be found and every opinion has, at the very least, been acknowledged and respected. The encouragement of individuality would thus be beneficial to society. Any infringement upon individual rights, unless that person proves to be harmful to another, is wrong and leads to tyrannic ways.

Mill does not approve of Calvinism and similar stances, as he argues that the main point of Calvinism (an action not applicable to a said duty is equal to a sin) is incorrect. He notes that Calvinism thought discourages the concept of individuality, therefore infringing upon each individual's rights and harming the human race as a whole. The belief that complete goodness is only achieved through a pure devotion to God is tyrannic, as it significantly limits the abilities of the individual. Mill argues that man was not knowingly created by God to exist in a state of restriction and conformity.


From memory after studying book (Chapter 3)