John Stuart Mill's 'On Liberty'

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John Stuart Mill was a very influential Western Philosopher who had a different conception of liberty. Mill believed that it was necessary for society to have individualism. In his work “On Liberty” Mill tries to argue that the only time an authoritative body has the right to interfere with an individual is when it is for their own protection. (Quote) To back his argument Mill discusses three kinds of freedom he thinks a free society should have: 1. Freedom of thought and opinion, 2. The pursuit of ones own ends, and 3. How much power does an authoritative body have over an individual. Mill thinks that a governing body should not restrict freedom of thought and opinion. Mill also thinks that we shouldn’t silence opinions because it is detrimental to society as a whole. To prove why it is detrimental to society Mill starts by arguing that no one or governing body should be able to restrict ones opinion on issues and that people should be able to come to their own conclusions on issues. Mill discusses the possible objections to his idea that freedom of speech and thought are necessary. There are four objections to Mills thoughts on silencing opinions that he responds to. 1. The people who think that they are correct would be weak not to act upon their own ideals when threats to humanity are present. 2. The authoritative bodies need to stick with certain ideals that will help society. 3. Discrimination of the truth and 4. Since we don’t silence those who speak out none of these true ideals will go away. In response to Objection #1 Mill argues that without criticism and discourse one cannot be confident in the idea that their beliefs are correct. Humans aren’t perfect and ideas need to be discussed because there are many sides to di... ... middle of paper ... ...fe possible. Individuality allows us to see others and how their opinions might pertain and help us advance our own viewpoints. In the last part of “On Liberty” Mill discusses how much authority a governing body should have over an individual. Due to the fact that society is protecting and keeping its citizens safe, Mill thinks that the citizens should in turn obey should obey some kind of conduct. He thinks that individuals should not be allowed to harm others, that they should be able to step in and protect other members of society if needed, and that individuals freedom of opinion be restricted if it harms others. All of Mill’s argument is centered on the concept of individuality and he shows this well in his essay “On Liberty.” Now that we have discussed three prominent Western philosophers and their conceptions of freedom we will take a look at Sayyid Qutb.
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