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Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Mill's arguments for the encouragement of freedom of thought and discussion.

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Introduction

Ruth Russell Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Mill's arguments for the encouragement of freedom of thought and discussion The strengths and weaknesses of Mill's arguments for encouraging freedom of thought and discussion can once again be viewed in three parts. First, consider the case he presents for encouraging thought and discussion of all views in the instance of a true opinion being silenced. He says that to do this is to assume infallibility, which is wrong, and that worst of all, suppression of truthful thoughtful ideas i.e. the equality of blacks and whites, men and women, can cause the pushing back of important ideas so that ages of innocent people are persecuted unnecessarily as a result; circumstances no rational person would wish to occur. Yet, there are instances in history where many would argue the suppression of truthful views is, paradoxically, one of the ways by which the truth will be founded eventually. Mill quotes a Dr Samuel Johnson in his essay, who said 'the only method by which religious truth can be established is by martyrdom. ...read more.

Middle

as normally and efficiently as possible, in order that they could be a strong upright force by which to support the troops overseas and somehow decrease the losses. There may well be a great deal of sensibility within that choice to withdraw information from the masses as the government did at that time, but at what cost? If young minds growing up at that time are told not to question what is written in the papers, they are growing up in an accepting environment, and they in turn will not question their studies, causing the stifling of intellect and timid characters in daily life. Scarier, however, is the effect had upon those who experienced the war and returned to a society who had a very warped idea of what they had been through. How were these young men supposed to be able to cope and put their ordeal behind them if their families and communities had no comprehension of what they'd been through and were afraid of speaking out about their reactions to their experiences because there were women who had given white flowers to 'cowardly' men who had objected to the actions in the first place. ...read more.

Conclusion

to be false and devoid of rational defence, so there seems little point in allowing any defence of it to take place. Indeed, if the use of public money is considered, most people would put much more priority on it being spent on a supervised safe play area for children to go in their spare time than for the funding of a society which irrationally recognises paedophilic tendencies as an appropriate sexual orientation. Yet Mill argues that it is the very fact that the view is irrational that is should be allowed to be expressed and heard, even if that means it requires funding, because in its juxtaposition with the rational view that it can never be right to have intercourse with children who are unable to consent to the act clarifies the correct view further and means we are better able to understand and make decisions about other, more complex problems, because our intellectual abilities are kept alive. On balance of arguments I feel it can be seen that Mills views on the freedom of thought and discussion much outweigh the opposition, and on balance of arguments he is founded in his arguments. ...read more.

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