Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - John Stuart Mill, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Course CodePolitical Science 1020E
This preview shows half of the first page. to view the full 2 pages of the document.
John Stewart Mills’ continued
•Mills defends complete freedom of though and discussion
•It is never justifiable to silence the expression of an opinion, whether it is true
Response: cant we suppress, harmful, or false views?
•Mills – how can we know they’re false?
•Many certainties have turned out to be false
•To censor without testing it is to assume infallibility
Is it always better to know the truth?
•Some knowledge can be harmful (weapons)
•Knowledge can lead to the dissolution of society (atheism?)
•Dostoevsky: “Necessary Illusions”
Can’t we suppress opinions that aren’t useful?
•How can we know whether it is useful or not?
•Do we know that atheism will destroy society?
Another reason not to censor false views
•False views can function as a challenge (e.g. creationism)
•Dead dogma versus living truth
•Enables believers of the truth to defend themselves
When expression should be limited
•It’s always wrong to censor a view
•But it is legitimate to restrict the expression if it is likely to directly instigate
harm to others
But what does Harm Mean?
•Distinction between offensive actions and actions that cause harm
•To harm someone is to damage their interests
True or false
•According to John Stuart Mill, harming another’s interests is sufficient to
Harming others interests not sufficient to justify constraint
•Its sometimes legitimate to allow people to harm others interests
•Ex. Competitive exams, job competition
•Why is this okay? UTILITARIAN BENEFITS
Why limit individual liberty?
•The action in question harms interests that out to be considered as rights
•Not all interests should be considered as rights
•Which rights do we have?
Why do we have rights? 3 prominent answers:
You're Reading a Preview
Unlock to view full version