John Stuart Mill 's On Liberty Of Thought And Expression Essay

763 Words Jul 25th, 2015 4 Pages
In chapter 2 of On Liberty John Stuart Mill argues in favor of liberty of thought and expression in the case of opinions and beliefs. He points out that opinions are structured as such that they are either true or false. If one adamantly believes that the opinion they hold is the truth they are assuming infallibility. Mill maintains that we should accept our mistakes. On the other hand he alludes to the notion that the admission of fallibility may lead to inaction. In the interest of Mills support of liberty and thought I will uncover his defense of false opinions and beliefs, examine the significance of one being able to openly listen to opposing arguments to one’s own opinions, and consider whether this would lead Mill to suggest that geocentrism or creationism should be taught along with mainstream scientific views. Mill defends liberty of thought and expression specifically those that are false for several reasons. One of the main reasons he upholds is that if a person possesses a false opinion one should not stifle or restrict this false belief as long as the person is willing to thoroughly discuss and put this belief to the test. Mill states that “if the cultivation of the understanding consists in one thing more that in another, it is surely in learning the grounds of one’s own opinion” (Mill, 1978). He maintains that if an individual is genuinely rational they, in order to keep the truth from being a dead dogma, must welcome anyone with opposing arguments against…

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