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On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Mill's basic concern is liberty, both social and civil. He identifies a difference between freedom and liberty--freedom is the state of being free, while liberty is the freedom that a government or governing body grants its people. Briefly a member of Parliament (the workings of which are described in great detail in "Representative Government") and heavily informed and influenced by Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," Mill recognized that the most important (and perhaps the only proper) function of a government is to protect the liberties of its citizens. However, people generally get the form of government they deserve; if laws they allow to go unchecked become the tools of despotic powers, they have only their own ignorance or indolence to blame.
An enumeration of Mill's finer points may suffice as a summary of his ideas:
1. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are essential rights of man. You don't have to accept as true what other people say, but let them say it because there's always the chance that they're right and you're wrong.Read more ›
One of the interesting ideas behind 'On Liberty' is that this may in fact be more the inspiration of Harriet Taylor (later Mrs. J.S. Mill) than of Mill himself; Taylor wrote an essay on Toleration, most likely in 1832, but it remained unpublished until after her death. F.A. Hayek (free-market economist and philosopher) noticed this connection. Whether this was the direct inspiration or not, the principles are similar, and the Mills were rather united in their views about liberty.
'On Liberty' is more of an extended essay than a book - it isn't very long. It relates as a political piece to his general Utilitarianism and political reform ideology. A laissez faire capitalist in political economy, his writing has been described as 'improved Adam Smith' and 'popularised Ricardo'. Perhaps it is in part the brevity of 'On Liberty' that gives it an enduring quality.
There are five primary sections to the text. The introduction sets the stage philosophically and historically. He equates the histories of classical civilisations (Greece and Rome) with his contemporary England, stating that the struggle between liberty and authority is ever present and a primary feature of society.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A collection of classics from Mill, while many people misunderstand what he was trying to convey in many of the essays in this book, it is still a vital classic in political theoryPublished 11 months ago by fromingo
Not sure why it asked me all those stupid questions about plot, etc. Anyway, Mill shouldn't need an introduction, but if he does then suffice to say "On Liberty" and some... Read morePublished 12 months ago by RKM
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill is an in-depth exploration of the relationship between the individual and authority. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Carol Apple
Tough read... Old English prose; but invaluable, nonetheless.
Compliments Hayek, Smith, Rand, and the Friedmans' work.
Condition of book acceptable ...
This is one of Stuart Mills' best known works. It is difficult to follow, difficult to understand his style, but it is great when you begin to understand his logic, his main... Read morePublished on February 12, 2014 by Easy Rider
This is much more than a printing of "On Liberty", which comprises only one sixth of the volume. "Utilitarianism", "On Liberty" and "Representative Government" are often published... Read morePublished on March 11, 2011 by Derek Jones
This is a great collection of essays by Mill. The introduction is elucidating, albeit controversial (the editor acknowledges that the opinions stated in the introduction are... Read morePublished on April 13, 2010 by Ryan Mease
The first and last paragraphs below describe the Oxford World's Classics edition; the rest refer generally to Mill's On Liberty, Utilitarianism, Considerations on Representative... Read morePublished on November 24, 2009 by Bill R. Moore
This collects four of John Stuart Mill's best-known and most influential essays: On Liberty, Utilitarianism, Considerations on Representative Government, and The Subjection of... Read morePublished on November 24, 2009 by Bill R. Moore