On Liberty and Utilitarianism

On Liberty and Utilitarianism

By John Stuart Mill

Bantam Classics, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780553214147, 272pp.

Publication Date: January 1993

Together these two essays mark the philosophic cornerstone of democratic morality and represent a thought-provoking search for the true balance between the rights of the individual and the power of the state. Thoroughly schooled in the principles of the utilitarian movement founded by Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill nevertheless brings his own unique intellectual energy to issues such as individual freedom, equality, authority, happiness, justice, and virtue.
On Liberty is Mill's famous examination of the nature of individuality and its crucial role in any social system that expects to remain creative and vital. Utilitarianism brilliantly expounds a pragmatic ethic based on one controversial proposition: actions are right only if they promote the common good and wrong if they do not. While much of Mill's thinking was eventually adopted by socialists, it is in today's democratic societies with their troubling issues of crime, freedom of speech, and the boundaries of personal liberty that his work resounds most powerfully.

About the Author
John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, politician and economist most famous for his contributions to the theory of utilitarianism. The author of numerous influential political treatises, Mill s writings on liberty, freedom of speech, democracy and economics have helped to form the foundation of modern liberal thought. His 1859 work, On Liberty, is particularly noteworthy for helping to address the nature and limits of the power of the state over the individual. Mills has become one of the most influential figures in nineteenth-century philosophy, and his writings are still widely studied and analyzed by scholars. Mills died in 1873 at the age of 66.