Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
On Liberty Paperback – July 29, 1982
|New from||Used from|
There is a newer edition of this item:
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
The author basically explains his ideas regarding the preservation of individual liberties, not only due to the fact that they are rights owed to everyone, but also because they benefit society as a whole.
For example, when he says that liberty of thought and of discussion must be preserved, he tells us that "Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument: but fact and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it". How can mistaken beliefs or actions be proven wrong, if dissent is forbidden?. The loss for society is clear: "If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error".
In order to preserve the liberties included in the concept of Civil Liberty, the author points out that there must be limits to the action of the Government. He says that "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others". Any other reason is simply not good enough. Thus, Stuart Mill highlights the rights of the individual, but also the limit to those rights: the well-being of others.
"On Liberty" is not too long, and I think you are highly likely to enjoy it, if you can get past the first few pages.Read more ›
"On Liberty" is one of the most important books on political thought of the nineteenth century. Fortunately for the 21st century reader it is also one of the most accessible. Mill was a libertarian who chose not to base his defence of liberty on natural rights but on his own revised version of utilitarianism:
"I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions...grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being."
This enables Mill to argue that freedom is needed if man is to be able to explore all the avenues of human development that allow the human race to progress. Total freedom is impossible so what determines the legitimate boundaries of freedom? Mill distinguishes between self-regarding and other-regarding actions. The former should never be interfered with and the latter subject to limitation only if they harm the legitimate rights of others.
For Mill free thought is a self-regarding action which should not be curtailed, and free thought is virtually useless without free speech. Mill then proceeds to add a utilitarian argument in favour of free speech: if an opinion is silenced then mankind is necessarily the loser whether the opinion is true or false. He advances a number of arguments to support this, concluding with the claim that a climate of freedom is essential for "great thinkers" and "it is as much, and even more indispensable to enable average human beings to attain the mental stature they are capable of.Read more ›
The aim of early libertarians was to limit the power of the ruler over those governed; Mill, however, identifies a need to limit the power of elected governments and officials as well. Mill is not merely addressing the issue of "who should rule?", he seeks to establish limits on the power that government may exercise over minorities and individuals. His work is more relevant now than ever.
While "government of the people" is an ideal to be aspired to, Mill argues that such an ideal is often not the case in fact. He argues that those exerting the power of the government -elected officials, bureaucrats, the judiciary -often develop their own interests. They are sometimes influenced by those constituencies in ways that are at odds with the interests and liberties of individuals or other groups.
Mill makes no distinction between a tyranny of one and a tyranny of many. A tyrannical majority running roughshod over the rights of individuals and minorities is no less a tyrant because it is a majority, because it is elected, or because it is elected by a majority.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
John Stuart Mill was born in 1806, and would die in Avignon, France at the age of 66. He was a philosopher, with a focus on political, social and economic theory. Read morePublished 4 days ago by John P. Jones III
This is an excellent product and its everything I was expecting it to be. I am happy with the product and serviced, I have received.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
Although this essay might seem outdated, its concepts are far from it. It should be required reading for anyone with an interest in current events, politics and the human... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Linda Kosoff
You may have to read some pages twice to really embrace what Mill (and his wife) is trying to explain. This is the kind of book that can change the way you see life.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The influence of this work alone demands it be read, but the clarity of argument and the attention to political details is astounding on its own account. Read morePublished 3 months ago by ArmchairPuddy
A very important read - everyone should read this! I plan to buy the book.Published 4 months ago by suzanne