Political Theory

"Revisiting J.S. Mill's Case for Civil Dialogue in the Age of Partisan Division: Its Utility for Teaching Political Theory" Prepared for Civic Engagement TLC2020

Ramona Grey University of Montana
John Stuart Mill’s essay, On Liberty (1859) grapples with a familiar problem; namely, how to determine “the nature and the limits of power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.” Today, even more than in Mill’s time, with the proliferation of partisan websites and social media outlets, it is tyranny, not merely of princes, but of polarized public opinion expressed in ‘virtual’ communities, confirming rather than challenging social and political beliefs that—we must now be on guard. Mill’s case in seeking truth depends on vigorous debate, but applying his liberal philosophy may be easier said than done. This paper considers both the possibilities and limitations of putting his philosophy of education into practice when using a tutorial method for teaching political theory.