Monday, March 16, 2009

BHA celebrates 150 years of J S Mill's On Liberty

source: highlights comments

John Stuart Mill is a prominent figure in the humanist tradition and his essay, On Liberty, is pivotal in thinking about the political values that underpin the humanist vision of an open society. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this great work, the BHA has sent all MPs and peers an account of the work, written by political philosopher and Humanist Philosophers group member Alan Haworth. You can read more about this on our website and download the briefing sent to parliamentarians here (please do forward it to anyone that may be interested).

In the briefing, Dr Haworth says, 'On Liberty remains the classic philosophical statement of a liberal position which continues to play a considerable role within political thought in the world at large, not just within academia.' Dr Haworth sets out the principle on which Mill built his essay, that 'the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection', and that, 'the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others'.

J S Mill On…, a collection of essays edited by Peter Cave, published to mark the 200th anniversary of Mill's birth in 2006, is available at the special price of £4.50 plus p&p to celebrate the 150th anniversary of On Liberty - you can buy it today in the BHA online shop.

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