Review and Summary: On Liberty by John Stuart Mill in PDF
“On Liberty” is another book on the utilitarian theory and its fundamentals. Mill discusses the various aspects of individuality and freedom of the human nature. One of the primary topics addressed by the author is the appreciation for diversity in the society.
He believes that social pressure and expectations should not be the influencing factor on how a person in the society behaves and acts. The only thing that matters is that the concerned person’s actions and thought process not be detrimental to the happiness and comfort of those around us.
This includes all the intellectual as well as sensual aspects of the human society.
Through his essays, Mr. Mill tries to highlight the importance of liberty in a utilitarian society. He believes that the social benefits if freedom is given the respect that it deserves. It helps bring out the positives in the people and strengthens the social structure.
Liberty of opinion is a critical aspect if society needs to stay on a progressive path.
It not only helps us better understand our options and their implications but also allows us to consider the unpopular opinion, which might come out to be the right choice eventually. Liberty of action also deserves to be viewed as an essential aspect of the society.
Some people might not always act according to the expectations of the society. However, their actions and way of life might bring much-needed diversity in the nation and helps it grow.
The book is composed of five chapters. The starting chapter highlights the basic definitions of liberty. It is important that the readers develop a better understanding of Mill’s theories before they can indeed begin to grasp the arguments put forward by the author in the following text.
Mill stresses on the fact that everyone’s liberty should be respected to the point where it does not become a source of discomfort for anyone else.
In the remaining chapters, the author focuses on the effects of liberty on the society and how much influence must an organization have over the actions of a particular individual who is a part of it. At the end of the book, Mill cites several examples from our daily lives to supplement the theories, and ideas put forward by him.
“On Liberty” was questioned by the socialists and the philosophers on various accounts. It was felt that the book failed to define particular benchmarks for the liberty allowed for one person.
Critics say that Mill fails to define the dividing line between actions that through which a particular individual can cause “unhappiness” to himself and action through which he/she can cause “unhappiness” to others. However, Mill’s debate on nonconformity and his point of view that no one person can claim that his/her way of living is the best and the only way to live. Mill was also praised for highlighting the need for diversity in society.
Because change means growth and that is what helps the society in avoiding stagnancy.
In 1823 he joined the East India Company, where he would eventually occupy the position of head of the Office for Relations with the Indian States.
Active politically in defense of the abolitionist cause during the American Civil War, since 1865 and for three years he held a seat in the House of Commons, where he would be a constant subject of controversy because of his strong support for measures in favor of the classes less privileged and equal rights for women.
His first writings appeared published in the pages of The Traveler and The Morning Chronicle and were primarily concerned with the defense of free expression. In 1824, the appearance of The Westminster Review, organ of transmission of the radical philosophical ideas, provided to Mill a privileged atrium from which to spread his liberal ideology.
In the field of ethics, John Stuart Mill defended a sort of nuanced utilitarianism in which Bentham influences can be glimpsed and in which he introduced a constant concern to include in the habitual concept of “utility” the satisfaction derived from the free exercise of the imagination and critical consciousness.
On the central philosophical tendencies of his time, Mill expressed himself in favor of the positivism of Auguste Comte and contrary to Hamilton’s intuitionism.
Politically he always showed great enthusiasm for democracy as a form of government, tempered by pessimism about the real incidence on social welfare of his practice.
His works on logic and methodology of the sciences were of great importance in his time, mainly through his constant search for a valid principle for the inference of general laws; Following Hume’s steps, Mill defined causality as a falsifiable empirical process that he called “enumeration induction.”
In his role as an economist, John Stuart Mill was historically considered a late representative of the English classical school; some later authors, such as Marx, discussed this affiliation and stressed their distance from the notion of work-value.
Its central work in the field of political economy appeared in 1848 under the title of Principles of Political Economy (Principles of Political Economy), in which it is possible to distinguish three differentiated parts.
In the first, Mill elaborated a complete analysis of the wage formation process that he understood determined by the interaction between the supply of labor and the demand for it in the form of a wage fund. He considered the benefit as capital income and made it dependent on the general level of prices.
In his theory of exchange, he introduced utility as a determining factor in the exchange value of a good, on a par with its cost of production. In the field of international economics, the introduction of the term “real exchange relation” is due.
In the second part, he dealt with issues of statics and dynamics and exposed his idea of evolution towards the stagnation of the totality of the capitalist system because of a constant tendency to the reduction of profits, a concept that would be recovered by Marx.
The third part is the one that best reflects its reformist mood and deals with the necessary measures to favor a fairer distribution of income, among which Mill proposed the limitation of inheritance, worker and interterritorial cooperation and the promotion of small property peasant
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