Mill On Liberty Chapter 2

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  • Created by: dami
  • Created on: 19-06-13 10:35

Mill – Chapter 2 Freedom of thought and expression

Mill’s argument in chapter 2 revolves around the following premises

1.    The harm of silencing an opinion that is true

a.    Assumption of infallibility

b.    The harm of silencing opinions

c.    Is it justifiable to persecute the truth

2.    The harm of silencing an opinion that is false

a.    Dead dogma argument

3.    The problem of opinions that are partly true

Quotes from chapter 2

‘The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race’

‘The necessity to the mental well-being of mankind, of freedom of opinion and freedom of expression’

‘All silencing of opinion is an assumption of infallibility’

‘He is capable of rectifying his mistakes, by discussion and experience.’

‘The truth of an opinion is part of its utility’

‘Persecution is an ordeal through which truth ought to pass, and always passes successfully, legal penalties being in the end powerless against the truth’

‘The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat one after another’

‘History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution’

‘The greatest harm done is to those who are not heretics, and whose whole mental development is cramped, and their reason cowed, by the fear of heresy’

‘Mental slavery’ ‘old mental despotism’

‘If it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discusses, it will be held as a dead dogma not a living truth’

 ‘Living belief’ ‘dead beliefs’

‘Both teachers and learners go to sleep at their post, as soon as there is no enemy in the field’

‘The deep slumber of decided opinion’

‘Non-conforming opinion is needed to provide the remainder of the truth’

‘Passive rather than active’ ‘it is essentially a doctrine of passive obedience’

‘Narrow theory…


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