The short essay On Liberty was written by an English philosopher by the name of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). In this essay Mill basically talk about the system of utilitarianism to society and the state. Mill attempts to establish standards for the relationship between authority and liberty. He emphasizes the importance of individuality which he conceived as a prerequisite to the higher pleasures the “summum bonum” of Utilitarianism. Furthermore, Mill criticized the errors of past attempts to defend individuality where democratic ideals resulted in the "tyranny of the majority". Mill explains his concept of individual freedom of his ideas on history and on the state. On Liberty relies on the idea that society progresses from lower to higher stages and that this …show more content…
This evolution has brought on a new problem known as the tyranny of the majority, which the democratic majority forces its will on the minority. According to Wikipedia the phrase tyranny of the majority is” used when in discussing systems of democracy and majority rule involves the scenario in which decisions made by a majority place its interests above those of an individual or minority group, constituting active oppression comparable to that of a tyrant or despot. In many cases a disliked ethnic, religious or racial group is deliberately penalized by the majority element acting through the democratic process”. The democratic majority can exercise a tyrannical power even outside the political realm, when the people state their opinions it causes rebellions. John Stuart Mill emphasizes the importance of individuality. The aim was to limit the amount of power the ruler should have to exercise over the community and this limitation was what John Stuart Mill meant by
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
Utilitarianism defined, is the contention that a man should judge everything based on the ability to promote the greatest individual happiness. In other words Utilitarianism states that good is what brings the most happiness to the most people. John Stuart Mill based his utilitarian principle on the decisions that we make. He says the decisions should always benefit the most people as much as possible no matter what the consequences might be. Mill says that we should weigh the outcomes and make our decisions based on the outcome that benefits the majority of the people. This leads to him stating that pleasure is the only desirable consequence of our decision or actions. Mill believes that human beings are endowed with the ability for conscious thought, and they are not satisfied with physical pleasures, but they strive to achieve pleasure of the mind as well.
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.
John Mill’s On Liberty seeks to expound on how individuals and the society can exist as liberal entities without infringing on each other’s rights. Liberty is the condition of being free within the society, that is free from any form of restriction inflicted by authority. He argues that individual freedom is the basis of democracy where people exercise their own free will (Mill 2005). He also rejects the idea of social contract where individuals comply with society for them to gain social benefit (Mill 2005). It is generally thought that social development can only occur if certain constraints are placed on individual liberty. But the contrary is also true, if restriction are placed on people’s freedom, it becomes difficult for them to thrive
In utilitarianism John Stuart Mill introduced the idea of pleasures. All people seek to satisfy their desires, needs and happiness that mean prolonged and continuous pleasure. While utilitarianism is a theory directed against egoism which is opposes to the satisfaction of personal interest. The allowance of pleasure in every situation is determined by whether people contribute to the achievement of a higher purpose or general happiness. Morality is defined by Mill as rule by leading a man in his actions, through the observaing of which is delivered to all mankind the existence of the most free from suffering and intense pleasures.
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 Stuarts most famous essay, On Liberty came out in 1859. His father, James Mill, who was said to be a strict Utilitarian, raised him. Mill had a difficult childhood; he suffered a nervous breakdown when he was 21 when we first began to question his beliefs. He later on continued to struggle with his sense that Utilitarianism was too unemotional and that it failed to capture or understand the higher pleasures. Thus where On Liberty comes into play, this essay was established to broaden the meaning of utility and show that Utilitarianism can in fact provide a strong pr...
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), a British philosopher, is one of history's most respectable moral philosophers. Mill's most well-known work on the rights and freedom of an individual is his book entitled On Liberty. On Liberty discusses the struggle between liberty and authority between society and government, and how the limits of power can be practiced by society over an individual. Mill's essay consists of arguing what laws government has that ables them to be given the right to force people to act and live in certain ways. He establishes a society that can interfere with the government, demand freedom of individuals, and allow individuals free will to do what they choose, without interfering with the rights of others. This idea of free will and liberty leads to Mill’s harm principle. On Liberty is the founding document of the harm principle. The harm principle is defined in Mill’s introduction to On Liberty:
In order to understand John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism we must first understand his history and motives in writing the series of essays. Mill had many influencers most notably his father James Mill and the father of Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham. James grew up poor but was influenced by his mother, who had high hopes for the formerly named Milne family, and educated himself becoming a preacher and then executive in the East India Company. James was a proponent of empiricism and believed in John Locke’s idea of man being born as a blank slate. James did not send his son John to school, teaching him rigorously from the early age of three. Despite his father’s emphasis on the blank slate, Mill was criticized for being a manufactured man because
John Stuart Mill defines liberty, as a limitation of power; “By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers. The rulers were conceived (except in some of the popular governments of Greece) as in a necessarily antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled.” (John Stuart Mill “On Liberty” Pg. 29) This limit on power is what he refers to as civil liberty; the limitation is put into play for the people, Mill acknowled...
In John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Mill discusses the differences between individual independence and social control. Individual independence for Mill is being able to make your own decisions to a certain extent on the way you want to live your life. Whereas, social control is when someone who is in charge (example; the government) needs to put rules into effect so no one gets hurt. “the practical question where to place the limit--how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control--is a subject on which nearly everything remains to be done” (Mill, 5). Mill believes in order for humans to be happy in their lifetime, they need certain boundaries in individual independence and social control. He also believes that we can only have so many boundaries in individual independence and social control, otherwise we can’t be happy and somebody could get hurt. This essay will prove what can and can’t be used in individual independence and social control in order to live a happy life.
And because it is not necessary for them to voice their opinions, the public becomes uninterested and uninformed on the matters of government. This leaves people with stunted mental capacities. A good despotism is a government with no positive oppression by officers of state, but where all the interests of the public are managed for them. Mill asserts that despotism that consents not to be despotism could, in fact, be good. However, it depends on the despot. If the despot would refrain from exercising absolute power and instead, appoint a council chosen by the people, the despot could get rid of the evil elements of despotism. Mill continues to shed light on this despotic monarchy which is, in actuality, a representative government, when public opinion is allowed. Public opinion will either be for or against the despot. If it is against him, he can either put down opposition or defer to the nation. The former would cause animosity between the despot and the people; the latter would indicate a constitutional king rather than a monarch. Mill concludes by saying that the principle element behind a good government is the improvement of the
With authority, Mill was very much against state getting too involved in the individual’s life. He believed that the individual should be able to follow and chose their own life plan without being obstructed or hindered by the state. However he was truly worried that this form of government would ultimately result in an intrusion upon people’s lives, and understood it would be hard for people to grasp these life plans being achieved without interception by the state. In his book ‘On Liberty’ he stated that the individual was self-sustaining and that the individual should be independent over themselves and their thoughts, feelings and movements. The state should only intervene when harm is forced upon to the individual but no sooner should they impinge. This is known as Mill’s harm theory, which has become prominent in modern day liberal theories.
John Stuart Mill believes in the utilitarian principle that no action in of itself is good or bad, but the consequences of the action. People who believe in the utilitarian principle agrees that the way to judge an action’s morality is by seeing if it promotes the greatness amount of happiness, or pleasure, to the greatest amount of people. Based on that belief, Mill thinks that the only possible standard to judge ethics is happiness. Every action that we take, whether it be for short-term pleasure (lower-order pleasures) or if it’s for long term pleasure (higher-order pleasures), the tail end result for doing anything in this lifetime is to be truly happy. He also believes that happiness is the only thing that can be universally, in terms
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.