John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a by K.C. O'Rourke

By K.C. O'Rourke

The arguments complex within the moment bankruptcy of On Liberty (1859) became the touchstone for virtually each dialogue of freedom of speech, but the wider improvement of John Stuart Mill's principles bearing on highbrow liberty has typically been overlooked. This paintings makes an attempt to fill that lacuna by way of having a look past On Liberty, that allows you to comprehend the evolution of Mill's rules pertaining to freedom of proposal and dialogue.

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Extra resources for John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory (Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought)

Example text

Neither does he deny that such people may lack the ability or potential to achieve great things. However, as long as the social situation of the early nineteenth century were to pertain (and Mill here does not question whether it should), when the era of transition passes away, the majority will be best served by realising that the opinions of the more informed are superior to their own, thereby accepting their lead. Mill does not say that the less informed must defer to the better informed in everything.

23 The point being made here is that discussion will suffice to bring out the weak points of an opponent’s argument – a fact of which Mill was totally aware from his years in the Debating Society. But merely pointing out the loopholes in an opponent’s argument will not necessarily add to the store of truths discovered. On many issues (note that Mill does not say on all issues) informed rational judgement and calm reflection after the fact are also an integral part of the discovery of truth. Discussion alone is not always sufficient to achieve this.

The good of mankind requires that it should be so. The good of mankind requires that nothing should be believed until the question be first asked, what evidence there is for it. The very idea of progressiveness implies not indeed the rejection, but the questioning of all established opinions. 13 Yet while ‘discussion always accompanies improvement’, Mill had conceded earlier in his speech that there are instances where two opponents are so divided on a question that there is not ‘much prospect of advantage in a debate, at least if the end in view be mutual persuasion’.

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