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John Stewart Mill Notes Continued

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Department
Political Science
Course
Political Science 1020E
Professor
Charles Jones
Semester
Fall

Description
John Stewart Mills’ continued Against Censorship • Mills defends complete freedom of though and discussion • It is never justifiable to silence the expression of an opinion, whether it is true or false 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 justify constraint •  false Harming others interests not sufficient to justify constraint • Its sometimes legitimate to allow people to harm others interests • Ex. Comp
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