the Irish for rights

Milton & Mill: Freedom of Expression online

Milton Areopagitica via DarthmouthJohn Stuart MillThe classic liberal justification for freedom of expression has been stated by John Milton (pitctured left) in Areopagitica – A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicenc’d Printing, to the Parlament of England and by John Stuart Mill (pictured right) in On Liberty.

New from SSRN: David O Brink “Mill’s Liberal Principles and Freedom of Expression” in CL Ten (ed) Mill’s On Liberty: A Critical Guide (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). From the abstract:

John Stuart Mill’s defense of freedom of expression has proved extremely influential and finds important echoes in First Amendment jurisprudence. Though important in its own right, Mill’s defense of freedom of expression also plays an important, though sometimes overlooked, role in his more general defense of individual liberties. Mill turns to freedom of expression in the belief that there is general agreement on the importance of freedom of expression and that, once the grounds for expressive liberties are understood, this agreement can be exploited to support a more general defense of individual liberties. This means that a proper understanding of the significance of Mill’s defense of freedom of expression requires not only reconstructing his arguments on behalf of expressive liberties and exploring their bearing on issues of freedom of expression but also seeing how these arguments generalize to other kinds of liberties. In this regard, it is especially instructive to consider how his claims about freedom of expression inform his liberal principles, especially what his discussion of the best grounds for expressive liberties can tell us about the best grounds for opposing paternalism. But it is also worth exploring whether philosophical pressure runs in the other direction as well – whether Mill’s discussions of liberalism, in general, and paternalism, in particular, have implications for the proper articulation of principles governing expressive liberties. This perspective requires viewing Mill’s defense of freedom of expression in the context of his liberalism.

Meanwhile, from John Naughton:

Quote of the day

    Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.

John Milton: Areopagitica

The case for the blogosphere, in a nutshell.


3 Responses to “Milton & Mill: Freedom of Expression online”

  1. […] title of this post is taken from the third paragraph of Milton’s Areopagitica. As I commented in an earlier post, one of the classic liberal justifications for freedom of expression was stated by John Milton […]

  2. […] tradition, the fact that speech is offensive is not in itself a sufficient reason to censor it. As John Stuart Mill (pictured left) put it, “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over […]

  3. […] if the filtering suggestions are not. I have argued several times on this blog (eg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6) that we must be careful not to legislate simply because we are offended, and we must be […]

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Me in a hatHi there! Thanks for dropping by. I'm Eoin O'Dell, and this is my blog: Cearta.ie - the Irish for rights.

"Cearta" really is the Irish word for rights, so the title provides a good sense of the scope of this blog.

In general, I write here about private law, free speech, and cyber law; and, in particular, I write about Irish law and education policy.

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