Talk:On Liberty

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Former good article nominee On Liberty was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 9, 2012 Good article nominee Not listed

Any other criticisms to add[edit]

I added the criticism of the contradiction to util, but it would look less awkward with a nice extra few criticisms. Are there any other big ones thrown about in academia of which you can add. Also, I'm working my way through writing sections of the book. I should finish up the summary of the last few chapters by tomorrow. --Polsky215 (talk) 13:30, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

"Tyranny of the Majority"?[edit]

I thought "tyranny of the majority" was quoted from Alexis de Tocqueville and Democracy in America?

I'm almost certain the term "tyranny of the majority" was coined by on of the United States' "Founding Fathers." I'm leaning toward Thomas Jefferson but I'm not absolutely sure. 08:36, 6 October 2005 (UTC)mightyafrowhitey

In any case, is there a reason tyranny of the majority links here and not to de Tocqueville's work? Commander Nemet 04:09, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

I'm almost certain that the phrase "tyranny of the majority" does not appear anywhere in Mill's On Liberty; although he does make several references to the idea itself, if not to that particular phrase. Nevertheless, I also remain unclear as to why the phrase should link to this specific article. I would suggest either (a) redirecting it to some other work that more explicitly focuses on the problem of the tyranny of the majority; or (b) making a new article altogether that could synthesize in one place the ideas of a number of thinkers, including Mill, on this important concept. --Todeswalzer 23:38, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

This discussion is long over, but I would just like to state for the record that Mill directly mentions "tyranny of the majority" very, very early on in his work -- to the tune of the first section (Chapter 1, Introductory). I don't know the origins of the phrase, but it seems to be very shoddy work when this work's copyright has long since expired and been available publicly and people are too lazy to check. Hobbeslover talk/contribs 17:21, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Todeswalzer, how can you be sure it doesn't contain the phrase "tyranny of the majority" if you didn't even read it? It's like 4 pages into the book. Are you fucking retarded? Do you always give your opinion on things you know nothing about? it's fucking astonishing.-- (talk) 21:54, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

why was it a failure?[edit]

Why was Mill's argument in On Liberty a failure? and why would someone hold this view if it was a failure?

Two words: Cliffs notes. Rhobite 05:16, Jun 20, 2005 (UTC)

Who suggested that Mill's arguments in On Liberty were failures? Although there are a couple of points with which I disagree, the majority of the book seems to me like common sense, although I'm sure it didn't seem that way to most people when the book was first published. 08:42, 6 October 2005 (UTC)mightyafrowhitey

A failure? (!) I would very much like to see someone seriously defend that point of view. Mill's essay, and the ideas contained therein, have become a cornerstone in modern liberalism. --Todeswalzer 23:38, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

removed "effects" stuff...[edit]

I removed the following:

This paper's outline of libertarian concepts has earned it a secure place in history. Though it is certainly debatable, most nations are founded on the fundamental principal of human liberty. Some popular actions of states that go against Mill's beliefs on liberty are:

While there is certainly room for an analysis of how closely Mill's ideas are paralleled in contemporary society, this is horribly unbalanced (for one; it doesn't quote examples where liberal principles *have* been the basis of government policy, perhaps because there are too many to list). Moreover, there is a question as to how much should be placed in a discussin of Mill's specific book, and how much should be placed within articles on liberalism and libertarianism more generally. --Robert Merkel 23:33, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

I'm sure some people interpret Mill that way... but not all by any means. gren グレン 09:02, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Other Crud[edit]

Guess what? This text made Judith Reisman's list of hamful books. [1] I realize that she herself may or may not have chosen the list that was reviewed by these 15 "scholars", but it figures all the same. Sweetfreek 07:16, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

I was quite surprised in this 'survey' of Mill's ideas to Not find what is arguably, his most famous quotation, which I offer here:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

           -- John Stuart Mill

Bat 06:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Additional Resources[edit]

Why is there commentary on utility and human nature under this section? 08:15, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:On Liberty/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: J Milburn (talk · contribs) 21:30, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Interesting; a highly significant subject. I'd love to see a strong article on the subject. Review to follow soon. J Milburn (talk) 21:30, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

  • In the lead, I'd like to see a discussion of what the work is about before I start seeing discussion of Mill's wife.
  • I have removed the non-free cover image. The original cover (or, at the very least, a public domain one) should be used.
  • A note- "utilitarianism", as a movement, is not a proper noun, and does not need to be capitalised. Utilitianism, as a work, needs to be italicised and capitalised. Right now, it's often hard to judge what is being talked about.
  • "his three legitimate objections to government intervention" What do you mean, "legitimate"?
  • "which together form the entire doctrine of [Mill's] Essay." Who are you quoting? Why is there no reference?
  • The composition section is short- There is surely much more to be said? It contains little background about Mill, which is obviously of crucial importance to this article, and does not seem to be well structured. For instance, "corrected by Mill and his wife, Harriet Taylor. Mill, after suffering a mental breakdown and eventually meeting and subsequently marrying Harriet"- obviously not chronological.
  • Once you've introduced Mill, you can probably safely refer to him merely as "Mill".
  • There seems to be an odd discrepency between how you will sometimes cite several pages in a single footnote, and other times use several footnotes.
  • "The only justification for a person's preference for a particular moral belief is that it is that person's preference." I'm not sure that this is a fair representation of Mill's view. He is not an out-and-out moral relativist.
  • I've gotten to that quote, and still there's been no link to harm principle anywhere in the article.
  • "that opinions ought never to be suppressed.[16] Looking to the consequences of suppressing opinions, he concludes that opinions ought never to be suppressed," This is not well-written
  • "the same light as math because" math is not a term in British English
  • "While Mill general opposes"
  • "Therefore, because government intervention, though theoretically permissible, would be counterproductive." This doesn't make any sense
  • When quoting, only include the punctuation within the quote marks when the source you're quoting does the same.
  • I admit that it's a few years since I last read On Liberty, but your summary, for the most part, seems a good one. Some may criticise it for being a little long.
  • I'd want to see some discussion of its reception historically. As in, how it was initially received, and then perhaps a little about how well it has been received in different times up until the present day. As it is, you have a quote and factoid which indicate the significance of the work (I'd want to see a lot more on its actual influence) and then jump into a few criticisms.
  • "While David Brink concedes that Mill's apparently categorical appeal" You link here to an article specifically about Kant's categorical imperative, rather than to the concept of a categorical (as opposed to hypothetical) imperative.
  • "he points out that Mill does not believe rights are truly categorical because Mill—when necessary—opposing unrestrained liberty (e.g. offensive public exposure)." This doesn't make sense
  • "Furthermore, David Brink tries to" "Furthermore" is not appropriate here. We don't have a further criticism of Mill, but something of a defence
  • "Nigel Warburton states that though Mill encourages religious tolerance, because he does not speak from the perspective of a specific religion, some claim that he does not account for what certain religious beliefs would entail when governing a society" Very, very weaselly. Can we not attribute this criticism to someone in particular?
  • The list of published editions is a joke. As far as I can see, these aren't significant editions, just some fairly recent ones.
  • The online literature/secondary texts need to go below the references.
  • When you're citing multiple page numbers, use "pp.".
  • I'm afraid the references you're citing, and your bibliography as a whole, are lacking significantly.
    • Some article on the LibDem website is hardly an excellent academic source (if parts of it were originally published elsewhere, find and cite the original publication). "Liberal International", whatever that is, is the same.
    • Nigel Warburton, though he has written some solid academic work, is for the most part a pop-philosopher. In the context you cite him, certainly. This isn't really what we want to be seeing in an article like this.
    • It's not clear that you're citing the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. While this is an excellent encyclopedia, encyclopedias generally are not great sources- we should be looking to cite secondary material. Instead, encyclopedia articles like this can be very useful to give us an idea of the sorts of things we should be including, as well as helping us find useful secondary sources.
    • The versions of Mill's works you're citing are hardly ideal...
    • I'm seeing a serious, serious lack of decent secondary material, and there are literally libraries worth of it out there. Even Devlin, who is cited in the bibliography, is not mentioned. Another name that springs to my mind is Joel Feinberg. At the very least, I'd want to see these sorts of names in there.

I hope you can see from my above comments why I am going to have to close this review as unsuccessful. Some more work is needed to expand the article to include major aspects of the work (its original reception and major criticisms, for instance) and the sourcing needs to move from not-so-academic-sources and encyclopedias to published, peer-reviewed works from noted philosophers, historians, biographers and interpreters. I'd love to see an excellent article on this subject (I went through a brief stage as a Millian, and I of course recognise the significance of the work, regardless of my own views) and so I am happy to help out how I can. Good luck! J Milburn (talk) 22:39, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the advise. Hopefully next time. I have to say, I am very impressed by how thoroughly you reviewed the page. This was my first major Wikipedia project so you've taught me a lot. --Polsky215 (talk) 22:13, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
That's no problem- you're a braver guy than me taking on something this significant first time around! As I say, I'm happy to offer further advice, and may be able to help you access certain works if needed. Just contact me on my talk page. J Milburn (talk) 22:23, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

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