J.S. Mill's Boundaries of Freedom of Expression: A Critique.

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    • Abstract:
      The essay opens with some background information about the period in which J.S. Mill wrote. The discussion revolves around the concept of blasphemy which Mill considered to be highly problematic. Tagging unpopular views as ‘blasphemous’ amounted to abuse of governmental powers and infringed on the basic liberties of the out-of-favour speakers. The discussion on blasphemy sets the scene to the understanding of Mill's concerns, his priorities and consequently his emphasis on the widest possible liberty of expression. Section 2 presents the Millian principles that are pertinent to his philosophy of free speech: liberty and truth. Section 3 analyzes Mill's very limited boundaries to freedom of expression, asserting that the consequentialist reasoning had led Mill to ignore present tangible harm. It is argued that democracy is required to develop protective mechanisms against harm-facilitating speech. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]
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