Category Archives: Alan Ryan

Alan Ryan

The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill was first published in 1970. Reading it fifteen years later arouses the mixed feelings usual in such circumstances—the conviction that the author was formerly altogether cleverer, more imaginative and more enthusiastic than he has become alternates with embarrassment at his ignorance, disorder and clumsiness.

Alan Ryan, The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, 2nd ed., London, 1987, p. ix

Alan Ryan

It is plausibly argued that, just as artistic and literary achievements flourish in a society held together by a good deal of political and religious repression, so the search for truth is effectively prosecuted in conditions where individual scientists feel as if they have no choice about the theories they accept; the totalitarian scientific community is an efficient device for, so to speak, launching the intellectual energies of individual scientists against the natural world.

Alan Ryan, J. S. Mill, London, 1974, p. 138

Alan Ryan

Mill held […] that persecution was usually successful if it was tried for a reasonable length of time, and that it only failed where the numbers of the persecuted were so great that the policy could not be kept up for long. The Roman persecutors of Christianity might easily have succeeded in stamping out that faith altogether—a claim to which some reviewers took exception on the grounds that it suggested that God might have chosen to desert his revelation[.]

Alan Ryan, J. S. Mill, London, 1974, p. 137