All Minus One: John Stuart Mill's Ideas on Free Speech


This was recommended inside a stack of other philosophy books when I was going down an existential rabbit hole in May of ’22. It should have been at the top of the pile, though I did feel richer for having read so much on communism prior, so that I had a point of reference to compare the benefits of what Mill was talking about.

This book was the second in my self-study curriculum, following hot on the heels of Mark Skousen's The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of Great Thinkers. I didn’t take notes or review, but even now, more than a week after reading, I can still recall with perfect clarity Mill’s three arguments. I also used ChatGPT to explore and extend some of the nuances.

I should point out here that this version of the essay is available for free. I didn’t find the illustrations all that helpful, but they are beautifully rendered, and the document contains a section where Dave Cicirelli goes into detail on his process.

I urge you to read this work because it is important to the development of rational thought. Even if—perhaps, especially if—the only arguments you have are with books or yourself, Mill’s ideas will serve you well if your objective is getting at the truth of things. It’s short and distills the essential knowledge down to an easily digestible read.

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