An individual does not make a community, and a community does not make a society. In order to have a functioning and prosperous society, one must relinquish some free will in return for protection. According to John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, there are certain rights of the individual which the government may never possess. Centuries after the publication of Mill’s Essay, the court case Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegeta l , 546 U.S. 418 (2006) challenged the protective role of government against the free exercise of religion. In this instance, Mill would agree with the court ruling because, like his views concerning free exercise of will, government restriction and majority rule, both the court ruling and Mill’s ideals are concerned for the best interests of the individual rather than for the greater good of society. Complete free exercise of will inhibits individual and societal freedom. According to Mill, one may act as one chooses unless one is inflicting harm onto others. He argues that one is free to behave “according to his own inclination and judgment in things which concern himself” as long as “he refrains from molesting” (64). The problem arises in the freedom allowed to the individual performing the potentially dangerous act. People are often blinded by the situation in which they are in and by their personal motives which drive them to act. Humans, by nature, have faults and vices that are potentially harmful. It is the responsibility of society to anticipate harm, whether to oneself or to others. Once dangerous patterns and habits are recognized it is imperative to anticipate and prevent injury from reoccurring. To allow any individual to be inflicted harm forces citizens to lose tr... ... middle of paper ... ...nturies. Mill presents a clear and insightful argument, claiming that the government should not be concerned with the free will of the people unless explicit harm has been done to an individual. However, such ideals do not build a strong and lasting community. It is the role of the government to act in the best interests at all times through the prevention of harm and the encouragement of free thought. Works Cited Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao Do Vegetal. Supreme Court of United States. 2006. Google Scholar. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. . Mill, John Stuart, and Gertrude Himmelfarb. On Liberty. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974. Print.
On the one hand, it was investigated how this principal of liberty and autonomy challenges the need for state control, embedded in paternalism. Mill shows that individuality ensures freedom and a regulatory system for a functional society that would be compromised by paternalism or outside coercive forces. Self-development and social progress are the core principles of Millian Utilitarianism, which restricts state control to a single problem of harm to others, leaving a very limited space for regulation of individuals. However, at the same time limits and boundaries of his 'harm principle' are rather unclear, and there is a strong evidence to suggest that all acts are social acts that involve affect others. Hence, Mill's solutions within the harm principle can be interpreted in a similar way to soft paternalism
From top to bottom, John Stuart Mill put forth an incredible essay depicting the various unknown complexities of morality. He has a remarkable understanding and appreciation of utilitarianism and throughout the essay the audience can grasp a clearer understanding of morality. Morality, itself, may never be totally defined, but despite the struggle and lack of definition it still has meaning. Moral instinct comes differently to everyone making it incredibly difficult to discover a basis of morality. Society may never effectively establish the basis, but Mill’s essay provides people with a good idea.
For Mill, the freedom that enables each individual to explore his or her own particular way of life is essential for a generous and diverse development of humanity. The only source of potential within society to further continue human development is the spontaneity or creativity that lies within each individual. Mill has a utilitarian view on freedom. He was especially keen on individual liberty because it allowed the greatest measure of happiness. His concern is not to declare liberty as a natural right but to rather set out the appropriate constraints within ‘Civil or Social liberty’. Civil liberty is defined as the limit society can exert its legitimate power over each individual and social liberty has much to do with a political principle
John Stuart Mill and Gerald Dworkin have distinctly opposing views on legal paternalism in that Mill is adamantly against any form of paternalism, whereas Dworkin believes that there do exist circumstances in which paternalism is justified. Both agree that paternalism is justified when the well being of another person is violated or put at risk. Mill takes on a utilitarian argument, explaining that allowing an individual to exercise his freedom of free choice is more beneficial to society than deciding for him what is in his best interests. Dworkin, on the other hand, feels that certain cases require the intervention of either society as a whole or its individual members. He breaks Mill’s argument down into two distinct types, one based on utilitarianism and one based on the absolute value of free choice.
Kant and Mill both try to decide whether the process of doing something is distinguished as right or wrong. They explain that right or wrong is described as moral or immoral. In the writings of Grounding for the Metaphysics of morals Kant says that you only need to “act only according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” (Kant, 30). Kant then states that a practical principal for how far the human will is concerned is thereby a categorical imperative, that everyone then is necessarily an end, and the end in itself establishes an objective principal of the will and can aid as a practical law (36). Mill on the other hand has the outlook that the greatest happiness principle, or utilitarianism, is that happiness and pleasure are the freedom from pain (Mill, 186). With these principles we will see that Kant and Mill correspond and contradict each other in their moral theories.
Mill’s concept of liberty focused on the individuals and ”defend the rights of individuals which involved civil liberties, individuality and personal autonomy” (Gabriel, 2010). In Mill’s book itself ‘On Liberty’ pointed out a few thoughts and ideas regarding how liberty of individuals and the response from the author...
Meaning that a state or an individual can limit another person’s liberty in an effort to protect the person from self-harm, since it justifies the restricting of liberty to engage in actions that threaten imminent harm to others. As utilitarianism, Mill tries to find the best possible outcome for the greatest number of
Mill’s convincing argument explains the context that natural rights are nonsense when they do not have legal protection and the hierarchal morality innately exists in mankind. Together Mill accounts for the legal and morality of natural rights.
John Locke (1632-1704) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) are two important thinkers of liberty in modern political thought. They have revolutionized the idea of human freedom at their time and have influenced many political thinkers afterwards. Although their important book on human freedom, John Locke’s The Second Treatise of Government (1689) and John Mill’s On Liberty (1859), are separated 170 years, some scholars thinks that they are belonging to the same conceptual tradition, English Liberalism. In this essay, I will elaborate John Locke and John Stuart Mill view on human freedom and try to find the difference between their concept of human freedom despite their similar liberal tradition background.
In On Liberty by John Stuart Mills, he presents four arguments regarding freedom of expression. According to Mills, we should encourage free speech and discussion, even though it may oppose a belief you deem to be true. Essentially, when you open up to other opinions, Mills believes you will end up closer to the truth. Instead of just accepting something as true because you are told, Mills argues that accepting both sides will make you understand why your side is true or false. Mills is persuasive in all four of his claims because as history would show, accepting both sides of an argument is how society improves.
John Stuart Mill discusses the conception of liberty in many ways. I’d like to focus of his ideas of the harm principle and a touch a little on his thoughts about the freedom of action. The harm principle and freedom on action are just two subtopics of Mill’s extensive thoughts about the conception on liberty. Not only do I plan to discuss and explain each of these parts on the conception of liberty, but I also plan to discuss my thoughts and feelings. I have a few disagreements with Mill on the harm principle; they will be stated and explained. My thoughts and feelings on Mill vary but I’d like to share my negative opinion towards the principle and hope to put it in a different perspective.
One major justification for minimising intervention into the lives of individuals, for liberals, may be a fear of a possible ‘tyranny of the majority’, including a majority religious or moral view. Mill, for example, was conscious of the damage that could be done by an over mighty state. Public power, for Mill, had to be limited by absolute natural rights, which pre-dated any particular consensus or majority view. Here, rights may be defined as a ‘protectiv...
John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all dealt with the issue of political freedom within a society. John Locke's “The Second Treatise of Government”, Mill's “On Liberty”, and Rousseau’s “Discourse On The Origins of Inequality” are influential and compelling literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinker’s ideal state present divergent visions of the very nature of man and his freedom. The three have somewhat different views regarding how much freedom man ought to have in political society because they have different views regarding man's basic potential for inherently good or evil behavior, as well as the ends or purpose of political societies.
In Considerations on Representative Government, Mill denounces the idea that a despotic monarchy headed by a good despot is the best form of government. Mill goes on to share the reason behind this idea. The reason lies in the supposition that a distinguished individual with absolute power will ensure that all the duties of government is performed intelligently and virtuously. Mill does not disagree with this belief but he finds the need to address it. He states that an “all-seeing” monarch rather than a “good monarch” is needed. The despot would need to be informed correctly and in detail at all time, and be able to oversee every division of administration with effective attention and care in the twenty-four hours per day he has. If not, the
Chapter two of Mill’s On Liberty discusses the freedom of speech. Mill ultimately declares that a person is free to express his/her opinion as long as it does not cause physical harm to an individual’s person or possessions. This opinion can be “correct” or “wrong” and/or it can cause emotional harm; as long as Mill’s former harm principle is not violated, a person can have unlimited free speech. Mill explains that there is no possible way for one to know for certain that an opinion is true or false, only that one can work towards a more reasonable and logical opinion. Certainty means little if many people are certain that their differing opinions are true, and many opinions thought to be true have later been proven to be false such as slavery being accepted to it being inhumane. His strongest argument for this claim is that to suppress an opinion, one must be certain that it is incorrect and that the suppressor is infallible.