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On Liberty and Utilitarianism
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On Liberty and Utilitarianism

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  554 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Together these two essays mark the philosophic cornerstone of democratic morality and represent a thought-provoking search for the true balance between the rights of the individual and the power of the state. Thoroughly schooled in the principles of the utilitarian movement founded by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill nevertheless brings his own unique intellectual energy t ...more
Paperback, Bantam Classic Reissue, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Bantam Classics (first published 1859)
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Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Thomas Hettich
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Although written in the 19th century, it is clear why this book is a classic. Our politics today struggle to navigate left/right and open/closed, “On Liberty and Utilitarianism" seems to offer a much better mindset and guidance for a healthy political debate.

In my review I will solely list some of my favorite parts:
- The introduction by Isaiah Berlin starts “The periods and societies in which civil liberties were respected, and variety of opinion and faith tolerated, have been very few and far b
Bob Nichols
Oct 18, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Steve Heikkila
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
"That flathead Mill," Nietzsche called him.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniela Bullard
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history, buy
This book from John stuart mill is very informal and expands your mind into a bigger view on what's happening in our society and how are laws formed by our government and the people. But explains how Unitarianism and individuality plays a big role in our society. This man was ahead if his time and this was recommended to me to read by a professor.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
On Liberty -- 5 stars; Utilitarianism -- 3 stars

On Liberty evinces one of the most lucid and sublime deployments of the English language I've 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.
Joshua Schenck
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Jamie Crawford
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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
On Liberty (Everyman's Library classics) by John Stuart Mill (1992)
Paul Bard
Mar 11, 2014 rated it liked it
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?
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Read for Citizen and Society (philosophy class)
Aug 23, 2007 added it
Kirk Elifson
On Liberty presented many interesting ways to think about personal and interpersonal freedoms. Utilitarianism essay was much more difficult to read.
justifications for liberty subjective.
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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...