Views On Liberty

By Daisy Devonshire, Block 5
Nigel Warburton came to talk to us about John Stuart Mill’s celebrated work On Liberty. Warburton talked about Mill’s vision for a fundamentally utilitarian society and his view on freedom, that a sound-minded adult can do whatever they like, say whatever they like, as long as it causes no harm to others. However, Mill had a view of the nature of harm that might be challenged today. Mill believed that if, by expressing an opinion, another person is offended it does not count as harm, unless it incites violence, which is harm. Mill believed that paternalism is fundamentally wrong, as long as the adult is sound of mind, and the individual should feel free to mould their own life. This conflicted with the Victorian style of government that acted in such a way as to dictate behaviours that were in people’s best interests. Nigel Warburton led an interesting and stimulating discussion on these views; it was a fascinating talk, led by a fascinating man.



Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music school. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.


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