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      Speech, truth and liberty: Bentham to John Stuart Mill 1

      , 1

      Journal of Bentham Studies

      UCL Press

      Bentham, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, liberty, freedom of speech

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          Abstract

          Bentham’s Utilitarianism transforms earlier free speech doctrine in the service of the pursuit of truth and the control of government, preserving the distinction between statements of opinion and of fact and awarding the latter a lesser degree of protection. The work of James Mill and the early writings of John Stuart Mill retain this distinction, but their accounts are weighed down by the problems of a direct Utilitarian approach, in their consequentialist balancing of different values against each other, and in their dependence on a majoritarian epistemology and their commitment to a naive progressive optimism. Mill goes on in On Liberty to address and resolve these problems on the basis of a new justification for free speech as free deliberative thought. I argue that, contrary to most interpretations, his new justification leaves untouched the basic distinction between absolutely protected expressions of opinion and only functionally and contingently protected assertions of fact, leaving room for restrictions on factual statements, especially when untrue.

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          ‘Fuck’

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            ‘Scanlon on Freedom of Expression’

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              ‘John Stuart Mill and Neo-Malthusianism, 1873’

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                jbs
                jbs
                Journal of Bentham Studies
                JBS
                UCL Press
                2045-757X
                14 January 2019
                : 18
                : 1
                : 1-19
                Affiliations
                1University of Hamburg, Germany
                Article
                10.14324/111.2045-757X.046
                Copyright © 2019, The Author(s).

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Page count
                Pages: 20
                Categories
                Article

                Philosophers, General philosophy, Philosophy

                James Mill, John Stuart Mill, liberty, freedom of speech, Bentham

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                Journal of Bentham Studies
                Volume 18, Issue 1

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