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On Liberty/Utilitarianism

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  383 ratings  ·  13 reviews
On Liberty (1859) is a philosophical work by British philosopher John Stuart Mill. It was a radical work to the Victorian readers of the time because it supported individuals' moral and economic freedom from the state.Perhaps the most memorable point made by Mill in this work, and his basis for liberty, is that "over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is s ...more
Published June 4th 1992 by Everyman (first published June 2nd 1992)
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This book stands on the pinnacle of mankind's achievement in philosophy, and as one of my friends always says it can be considered the holy book of atheists.
I loved the essay On Liberty. I've read it before, but this reading was much more meaningful, perhaps because about 10 years have elapsed and politics in this country have convinced me we need Mill's explanation of why we have the rights we do and their importance in our lives more than ever. It's amazing how much Mill's On Liberty has shaped how we perceive our rights and their importance in the 20th and 21st centuries. Must be read. The essay on Utilitarianism is the only weak element of this ...more
I have already read Mill's essay on liberty Years Ago. What I found rather interesting while re-reading was How Delicately Mill attempted to draw the lines between Individual Vs. "state" Rights. I believe He is -by far- the most eloquent philosopher to speak on the matter. Moving on to the essay on utilitarianism, The Argument is rather simple and solid. "Seek pleasure, Avoid pain", The General notion here is undeniably true. Also You can't overlook His stress on the role educaton play in infusi ...more
I am not a utilitarian, but Mill is clever, and beneath his boringboringboring wordy prose is a powerful argument. I hesitate to give this five stars since his replies, clever as they are, at times seem to ignore the objection rather than to actually engage with it (and most of the objections considered are a little silly). There are two problems with utilitarianism that occur to me at the moment (there are problem more):

1. The hierarchy of pleasure that Mill, unlike Bentham, accepts, does not
Bob Nichols
The title of Mill's essay, "On Liberty," promises more than it delivers. In his opening lines, Mill makes it clear that the essay will not engage "The Liberty of the Will" debate (free will, determinism, etc.). Rather, his focus is on a single, practical premise: The sole justification for the exercise of state power to limit the liberty of individuals is self-protection (i.e., prevent harm to others). Mill fills in the rest of this essay in Emerson-like tones. Left unsaid is why "liberty of the ...more
Jamie Crawford
Took my time with this book, as it had tonnes of thought-provoking points and issues relevant to modern day life. Very interesting the detailed analysis on what freedom should be, and his opinions on the freedom of thought and speech were especially intriguing
Joshua Schenck
Again, not a beautiful book. We may want to give some attention to a book that can, even for a moment, make it plausibly correct for others to sacrifice you for not only their sole benefit but in the pursuit of happiness.
Ethan Qiu
The struggle between choices, or the presence of such. The release of men to their own desires, to the enslavement, to ensure the most.
Paul Bard
On Liberty made me a kind of reluctant believer in Mill's views. After all, how could it be otherwise now his world has come to pass?
On Liberty -- 5 stars; Utilitarianism -- 3 stars

On Liberty evinces the most lucid and sublime deployment of the English language I've ever read.

You'll need a highlighter while you read these two treatises; the author packs in too many excellent ideas to remember all at once, and his ideas are not to be forgotten.
On Liberty (Everyman's Library classics) by John Stuart Mill (1992)
This book is an excellent defense of the first amendment write to freedom of expression. It's also an excellent argument in favor of utilitarian morality. It's probably worth a read if your interested in these areas, but I felt the whole time that I was simply reading things I already believed and felt. If you're pro first amendment and in favor of being decent to your fellow humans, regardless of any differences you might have, this book won't shatter your world view.

It does get interesting wh
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John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, political economist, civil servant and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. He was an exponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham's.
More about John Stuart Mill...
On Liberty Utilitarianism On Liberty and Other Essays The Subjection of Women Autobiography

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