John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory

John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory

John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory

John Stuart Mill and Freedom of Expression: The Genesis of a Theory

Synopsis

The arguments advanced in the second chapter of On Liberty (1859) have become the touchstone for practically every discussion of freedom of speech, yet the broader development of John Stuart Mill's ideas concerning intellectual liberty has generally been neglected. This work attempts to fill that lacuna by looking beyond On Liberty , in order to understand the evolution of Mill's ideas concerning freedom of thought and discussion.

Excerpt

This work began life in 1988-9, during a year spent studying towards an M.A. degree in philosophy. At that time John Baker of the Department of Politics at University College Dublin taught me to take John Stuart Mill seriously as a thinker and convinced me that On Liberty - especially its defence of freedom of thought and discussion - had a larger and better argument to make than has been traditionally perceived. My subsequent research in the Bentham Project at University College London helped me to read Mill's best-known essay in the context of the thirty-three volumes of the Collected Works, and Professor Fred Rosen brought a reasoned balance to my writing and ideas. Largely due to his enthusiasm I gained a Ph.D. from the University of London for a thesis which closely resembles this work. After all this time, however, my main gratitude is due to my wife, whose encouragement, support and patience over the past ten years have driven me on to complete this project: the book is dedicated to you, Dee.

K.C. O'Rourke

London

December 2000 . . .

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