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About the book
  • Published: 27 May 1982
  • ISBN: 9780140432077
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $17.99

On Liberty




'Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.' To this 'one very simple principle' the whole of Mill's essay On Liberty is dedicated. While many of his immediate predecessors and contemporaries, from Adam Smith to Godwin and Thoreau, had celebrated liberty, it was Mill who organized the idea into a philosophy, and put it into the form in which it is generally known today.
The editor of this essay, Gertrude Himmelfarb records responses to Mill's books and comments on his fear of 'the tyranny of the majority'. Dr Himmelfarb concludes that the same inconsistencies which underlie On Liberty continue to complicate the moral and political stance of liberals today.

  • Pub date: 27 May 1982
  • ISBN: 9780140432077
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $17.99

About the Author

John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) was educated by his father and through his influence obtained a clerkship at India House. He formed the Utilitarian Society which met to read and discuss essays, and in 1825 he edited Bentham's Treatise upon Evidence. In 1826 he suffered an acute mental crisis and found that poetry helped him recover the will to live, particularly the work of Wordsworth.

Having reconsidered his aims and those of the Benthamite school, he met Harriet Taylor and she inspired a great deal of his philosophy. They married in 1851. Utilitarianism was published in 1861 but before that Mill published his System of Logic (1843), Principles of Political Economy (1848) and On Liberty (1839). His other works include his classic Autobiography (1873). Mill retired in 1858 and became the independent MP for Westminster from 1865 to 1868. He spent the rest of his life in France and died in Avignon.

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