John Stuart Mill famously argued in his essay On Liberty that every opinion should be allowed free expression. The opinion, whose nature cannot now be known for certain, may be true. Or it may be false. Or it may be true in part and false in part. If it is true, there is reason for its being heard. If it is false, there is also reason for hearing it -- its being heard and examined will result in a fuller understanding and greater effect of the contrary true opinion. If it is partly true and partly false, there are both reasons for its being heard.

Mill took this argument to have the support of the Principle of Utility, somehow to the effect that that the right action, policy, institution or indeed society is the one whose consequences are the greatest possible total of happiness, satisfaction or well-being. It is easier to suppose the given argument for free expression, and in general the importance of truth, is better defended by the Principle of Humanity.

In any case, philosophers and ambitious graduate students in philosophy are invited to submit philosophical pieces of up to about 10,000 words for inclusion on this website. They can be on any of the subjects already considered on this website. They need to be at about the standard of the good or anyway decent printed journals of philosophy and related disciplines. They will therefore be superior to much WWW philosophy.

The points of view of course need not be my own. (For illustration, try the one that is Professor Richard Wolin's or the one that is Tamar Meisels'.) They may, for example, affirm classical free will, compatibilism or incompatibilism about determinism, any doctrine of consciousness and the nature of mind, conservatism in politics, liberalism, Zionism or neo-Zionism, or the rights of the Palestinians.

This note was originally prompted by reactions among some neo-Zionist undergraduates to my own views, in particular to a lecture to the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2004. See also a piece on the reactions and what followed.

Ted Honderich
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For a discussion of Mill's liberalism see the first essay in the collection On Political Means and Social Ends (Edinburgh University Press, 2003)

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