• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. 19th century Pre-1914 Prose Assignment, Discussion of the women.

    other people's expectations of her; it is this individuality which highlights the fact that she is disguised historically as the 'New Woman', as she overcomes the expectations of women made by the patriarchal society. She does not allow men to take away this individuality, for example the Grand Duke tries to do this by creating an ice statue of her.

  2. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research.

    it seems that qualitative research would be the best route to take in every research situation. After all, it provides people with an understanding that takes into account the fact that each person is an individual with a different perspective on the world, different reactions to occurrences, and different opinions on how the world should be.

  1. Evaluate Mill's liberty principle. What does Mill mean by liberty? What other principles are ...

    It could also be argued that since drugs kill brain cells (this has been scientifically demonstrated) that drug use lowers the intelligence and awareness of the individual over time, thus creating social problems. Or, if the person develops an addiction, this could have other serious effects, e.g.

  2. Maggie, an Anti-type of a Victorian woman - The Mill on the Floss

    the conventional standards of other Victorian women in the society (these characteristics can be applied to male Victorians as well). She does not judge people according to such faulty values and standards. She loves people whenever she finds them deserving her love and care.

  1. A discussion on the transformation of protagonists in The Pigeon by Suskind and Metamorphosis ...

    The fear of Jonathan's confrontation with the pigeon forces him into the retreat back to his sanctuary. When the final step in Jonathan's transformation occurs: "He walked ahead, more or less fearlessly, stepped through the light, entered the shadows behind it."6 To complete the transformation, Jonathan crosses over from his

  2. The Myall Creek Massacre

    It is suggested that perhaps this event places the idea in the stockman's head. Furthermore, if members of society see law enforcement officers behaving in such a manner, it can hardly seem surprising that they themselves would see no legal or moral issues with replicating this behaviour.

  1. Charles Wright Mills

    His time was spent working on the dissertation on pragmatism, the edited volume on Max Weber and the volume on social psychology, which took a lengthy amount of time. It was there, at Maryland, where Mills decided to make his leap from philosophy to sociology.

  2. The Cost of Freedom? Priceless.

    injustice and inhuman treatment of an entire people who were sold, bought, kidnapped and stripped of their heritage is more questionable. Today, the idea of Blacks accepting money as an apology is often heavily debated, and "one can only be left to wonder if money will be the thing that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work