International Congress on John Stuart Mill

A hundred and fifty years ago, On Liberty by John Stuart Mill, a major work in political, social and moral philosophy, was published. On this occasion, an international congress was organized at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 19 November 2009.

Through his work, John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and economist of the 19th century, aimed at defending and promoting “one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual”, which is that “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection.”

The congress emphasized the continued relevance and force of this principle in its philosophical, moral, social, political and religious dimensions, and also examined the bases, the consequences, but also the limits of this issue.

Speakers from different horizons gathered and presented their understandings of this “very simple” but also major principle and explained how it can still guide our societies today.

This event was organized by the Chair in Philosophy of Biological and Medical Sciences at the Collège de France, with the support of the Institut international de philosophie and the Fondation Hugot of the Collège de France

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