John Stuart Mill On Freedom Of Expression

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Freedom of expression is defined as 'The power or right to express one's opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty.' (oxforddictionaries). And the question is, should this be restricted? Should some peoples ideas or opinions be constrained, suppressed or limited? According to John Stuart Mill the answer is no.' He argues that Freedom is conducive to the greatest happiness.That freedom of thought and expression is a mean to social progress' (Garner, R,.Fredinard, P,.Lawson,S.(2016)Introduction to Politics 3rd Edition.Oxford) and through this, society benefits from self development. Mill advocates three cases which freedom of expression shouldn't be suppressed."if the opinion is true and suppressed? Then we lose the opportunity to exchange falsehood for the truth; if the opinion to be suppressed is false? Then true opinions would be unchallenged and be held as prejudice, and we lose the opportunity of hearing a contrary opinion and forming our own opinions; and if the opinion to be suppressed was partly true? then society would never develop, changes in society would never …show more content…
Freedom of expression can lead to infringing on others people rights and cause harm such as cyberbullying or can lead to extreme retaliation like the Charlie Hebdo case if taking to the extreme. This why Mill(On liberty,()) introduces the idea of the harm principle. 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others'. Mill suggest here that restrictions to freedom of expression/ censorship should be active when it causes a direct harm to

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