Lorine's cabin water lily

Resource information

Author: John Stuart Mill
Title: On liberty, representative government, and
Publisher: Oxford
Year of Publication: 1912
Type of document: Book

Notes: Note on first page, "Lorine Niedecker, Phil. 22." and "Niel[?] 1806-1873"

p. 5: Underlines "this Essay" and "Liberty of the Will" in sentence starting, "The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity…"

p. 6: Question mark by sentence, "And so long as mankind were content to combat one enemy by another, and to be ruled by a master, on condition of being guaranteed more or less efficaciously against his tyranny, they did not carry their aspirations beyond this point."

p. 8: Marks in margin, "The ‘people' who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised…", and "...and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power."

p. 9: Note at top, "not in America". Marks in margin, "...and in political speculations ‘the tyranny of the majority' is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard." Underlines, "against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling".

p. 10: Underlines from previous page, "how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control--is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done." Marks in margin, "The rules which obtain among themselves appear to them self-evident and self-justifying." and "People are accustomed to believe, and have been encouraged in the belief by some who aspire to the character of philosophers, that their feelings, on subjects of this nature, are better than reasons, and render reasons unnecessary."

p. 11: Question mark in margin by sentence, "Sometimes their reason--at other times their prejudices or superstitions: often their social affections, not seldom their antisocial ones, their envy or jealousy, their arrogance or contemptuousness: but most commonly, their desires or fears for themselves--their legitimate or illegitimate self-interest." Writes, "by" above word "of" in sentence, "...between men and women, has been for the most part the creation of these class interests and feelings". Notes in right margin toward bottom of page, "certainly".

p. 12: Note at top, "antipathies = aversions". Underlines, "it made men burn magicians and heretics."

p. 13: Question mark by sentence, "Wherever the sentiment of the majority is still genuine and intense, it is found to have abated little of its claim to be obeyed."

p. 14: Brackets, "When they do so, individual liberty will probably be as much exposed to invasion from the government, as it already is from public opinion." Underlines into next page, "The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion."

p. 15: Check mark by underlining from previous page. Underlines "nonage" with definition at bottom, "nonage=legal minority"

p. 17: Underlines, "responsible to society for not doing."

p. 18: Numbers 1-3 next to first paragraph on page for, "firstly", "secondly", and "thirdly"

p. 19: Mark in margin by line, "...prevented so great an interference by law in the details of private life…"

p. 20: Underlines, "to stretch unduly the powers of society" with question mark in margin.

p. 22: Note at top, "3 divisions"

p. 23: Note at bottom, "noxious=hurtful"

p 24: Marks in margin, "But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it." and "Unfortunately for the good sense of mankind, the fact of their fallibility is far from carrying the weight in their practical judgement, which is always allowed to it in theory…"

p. 25: Underlines, "authority on its own judgement and responsibility."

p. 26: Underlines, "conscientious conviction" with note, "yep". Underlines, "and must assume our opinion to be true for the guidance of our own conduct"

p. 27: Marks in margin, "...is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right." and "Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted."

p. 28: Underlines, "has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct."

p. 29: Marks in margin, "This is the amount of certainty attainable by a fallible being, and this is the sole way of attaining it./Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being ‘pushed to an extreme'"

p. 30: Marks in margin, "If we would know whether or not it is desirable that a proposition should be believed, is it possible to exclude the consideration of whether or not it is true?"

p. 32: Marks in margin, "indeed his accuser asserted (see the Apologia) that he believed in no gods at all." Note at bottom, "Socrates got M.A. closest[?]"

p. 34: Note at top, "well written". Marks in margin, "...thinking himself the best and most enlightened among his contemporaries, it was the Emperor Marcus Aurelius." and "This man, a better Christian in all but the dogmatic sense of the word, than almost any of the ostensibly Christian sovereigns who have since reigned, persecuted Christianity." Note at bottom, "Aurelius feared falling to pieces of society--[shorthand?]"

p. 35: Marks in margin, "...under the auspices of Marcus Aurelius instead of those of Constantine. But it would be equally unjust to him and false to truth, to deny, that no one plea which can be urged for punishing anti-Christian teaching…" with question mark. Note at bottom, "He seems not to assume infallibility for MA, why not?"

p. 36: Underlines with question mark, "...think that new truths may have been desirable once, but that we have had enough of them now."

p. 37: Two dots at top of page. Brackets, "The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favourable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it." with note, "Truth crushed to earth, will rise again. [?]"

p. 41: Marks in margin, "For a long time past, the chief mischief of the legal penalties is that they strengthen the social stigma." Underlines, "pecuniary", "the goodwill of other people", "we do not now inflict so much evil on those", and "we do ourselves as much evil as ever by our treatment of them."

p. 43: Underlines, "it is not the minds of heretics", and "not heretics, and whose whole mental development is cramped, and their reason cowed, by the fear of heresy."

p. 44: Underlines, "the subjects which are large and important enough to kindle enthusiasm." with note, "of such". Underlines, "Of such", and "our mental freedom." Brackets with number "2", "Let us now pass to the second division of the argument, and dismissing the supposition that any of the received opinions may be false, let us assume them to be true". Marks end of last paragraph on page.

p. 46: Marks in margin, "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

p. 49: Marks in margin, "The fact, however, is that not only the grounds of the opinion are forgotten in the absence of discussion, but too often the meaning of the opinion itself."

p. 51: Check mark by sentence by sentence, "To what an extent doctrines intrinsically fitted to make the deepest impression upon the mind may remain in it as dead beliefs…" Underlines, "majority" and "Christianity." with note, "09.[?]" Note in margin by last paragraph on page, "Yes"

p. 52: Marks in margin entire paragraph starting with sentence, "All Christians believe that the blessed are the poor and humble, and those who are ill-used by the world; that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven; that they should judge not, lest they be judged; that they should swear not at all; that they should love their neighbour as themselves; that if one take their cloak, they should give him their coat also; that they should take no thought for the morrow; that if they would be perfect, they should sell all that they have and give it to the poor. THey are not insincere when they say that they believe these things. They do not believe them, as people believe what they have always heard lauded and never discussed. But in the sense that living belief which regulates conduct, they believe these doctrines just up to the point to which it is usual to act upon them. The doctrines in their integrity are serviceable to pelt adversaries with; and it is understood that they are to be put forward (when possible) as the reasons for whatever people do that they think laudable. But anyone who reminded them that the maxims require an infinity of things which they never even think of doing, would gain nothing but to be classed among those very unpopular characters who affect to be better than other people. The doctrines have no hold on ordinary believers--are not a power in their minds. They have an habitual respect for the sound of them, but no feeling which spreads from the words to the things signified, and forces the mind to take them in, and make them conform to the formula. Whatever conduct is concerned, they look round for Mr. A and B to direct them how far to go in obeying Christ."

p. 57: Mark at top of first full paragraph on page.

p. 58: Underlines, "belief that"

p. 59: Marks in margin with exclamation point, "On any of the great open questions just enumerated, if either of the two opinions has a better claim than the other, not merely to be tolerated, but to be encouraged and countenanced, it is the one which happens at the particular time and place to be in a minority."

p. 60: Marks in margin, "That is the opinion which, for the time being, represents the neglected interests, the side of human well-being which is in danger of obtaining less than its share." with note, "why how wise"

p. 61: Brackets, "Christian morality (so called) has all the characters of a reaction; it is, in great part, a protest against Paganism. Its ideal is negative rather than positive; passive rather than active; Innocence rather than Nobleness; Abstinence from Evil, rather than energetic Pursuit of GOod: in its precepts (as has been well said) ‘thou shalt not' predominates unduly over ‘thou shalt'." with note, "so?"

p. 62: Underlines, "of passive obedience" with note, "yes".

p. 65: Marks in margin, "We have now recognized the necessity to the mental well-being of mankind (on which all their other well-being depends) of freedom of opinion, and freedom of the expression of opinion, on four distinct grounds; which we will now briefly recapitulate./First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility./Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied./Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds." Underlines, "the truth has any chance", "prejudice", and "fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself"

p. 68: Note at bottom of page, "4 divisions"

p. 69: Note at bottom of page, "press but not oral[?]"

p. 72: Brackets, "in making a choice."

p. 87: Underlines, "of custom"

p. 93: Brackets sentence, "This conduct consists first, in not injuring the interests of one another…"

Date last updated: 12/15/15

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