Study Questions for John Stuart Millís On Liberty



Chapter I.


1.                  What is the subject of On Liberty?

2.                  Mill presents a sort of ďhistoryĒ of the development of government. Give an account of the struggle between liberty and authority as it began in the earliest times and in Millís time.

3.                  How does Mill view a democracy?

4.                  Why is democracy a danger to liberty?

5.                  To what does Mill refer when he discusses the ďtyranny of the majority?Ē

6.                  What must be done to ensure that democratic government is also a liberal one?

7.                  Are laws sufficient?

8.                  What is the basic principle that is the object of Millís book? What are the limits, according to Mill, for society to impose its will on individuals? Who are the exemptions from this principle?



Chapter II.


1.                  Why is freedom of thought and discussion necessary?

2.                  Doesnít such freedom endanger the state? Why or why not?

3.                  Why is it peculiarly evil to silence the expression of an opinion?

4.                  What are Millís historical examples?

5.                  Shouldnít government propagate the truth? Are there opinions that are particularly useful to society?

6.                  Should it allow salutary beliefs to be attacked? What do you think about Millís religious convictions?

7.                  What historical examples did Mill consider in this chapter? What is Millís opinion about Dr. Johnsonís argument?

8.                  What importance does Mill attribute to false opinions?

9.                  How does free discussion ultimately promote the truth and happiness according to Mill?



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