In his other writings (for example, Considerations on Representative Government), Mill writes in favor of imperialism and despotic rule over "inferior" peoples. How could Mill justify this stance, given his commitment to individual liberty? (Look to his first chapter in On Liberty, particularly to his discussion of children and barbaric people).
What assumptions about human nature does Mill make in expressing his theory? What would his theory lose if these assumptions were wrong?
What room does Mill leave for social reformers to influence society?
Who is Mill's audience? How does this affect his choice of examples and the presentation of his argument?
Examine the role of "progress" in Mill's work. How does he define progress and how does it inform his arguments? Would his theory stand without the concept of progress?
What rights does Mill see children as having? How do they figure into his description of social duties?
Discuss the ways in which Mill's essay is a historical argument, and discuss the ways in which it presents an abstract theory. Would the argument stand without one or the other approaches?
Explain the significance of Mill's story about how Emperor Marcus Aurelius persecuted Christians.
Explain why Mill believes that individuality is necessary for social progress.
What avenues of disapproval does Mill leave for society to express towards actions that they don't like? How does he justify such disapproval?
How might Mill reply to a law banning the sale of handguns?
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