- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; 1 edition (June 19, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780486421308
- ISBN-13: 978-0486421308
- ASIN: 0486421309
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 259 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Liberty (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – June 19, 2002
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From the Back Cover
Discussed and debated from time immemorial, the concept of personal liberty went without codification until the 1859 publication ofOn Liberty. John Stuart Mill's complete and resolute dedication to the cause of freedom inspired this treatise, an enduring work through which the concept remains well known and studied.
The British economist, philosopher, and ethical theorist's argument does not focus on "the so-called Liberty of the Will but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual." Mill asks and answers provocative questions relating to the boundaries of social authority and individual sovereignty. In powerful and persuasive prose, he declares that there is "one very simple principle" regarding the use of coercion in societyone may only coerce others either to defend oneself or to defend others from harm.
The new edition offers students of political science and philosophy, in an inexpensive volume, one of the most influential studies on the nature of individual liberty and its role in a democratic society.
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As a friend used to tell me when I was in grade school: "Your freedom ends where my nose begins."
Pros: One of the most practical pieces from the utilitarian thinkers of the era. Almost prescient on a number of matters (his genealogy of christian morality, proto-feminist thinking, religious diversity as including atheism).
Cons: I don't think that Mill ever fully resolves the concept of social tyranny in this work, which he rightly gives serious thought. Additionally, there is some (unsurprising) apologia for imperialism, and his assumption that Parliament is, or will become shortly, the will of the people, seems a bit overly optimistic.
Regardless of these quibbles, I think this is an important read for anyone interested in political philosophy.
This book is very densely written; you get a full page worth of reading on each page. The book was written in 1859. So the language is a bit more formal and strange compared to contemporary writings. But it's very readable. He explains the thought process behind his opinions. They're very logical. If be reading And think "Gee, never thought of it that way" Or "so that's why things are the way they are". And, for a book written 160 years ago, it is surprising my relevant.The