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Critique Of An Excerpt From John Stuart Mill’s On

  • Submitted by: Henry2705
  • on December 10, 2011
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 1,154 words

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Below is a free excerpt of "Critique Of An Excerpt From John Stuart Mill’s On" from Anti Essays, your source for free research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Critique of an excerpt from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty
Implicit within the excerpt is the idea that the individual is entitled to do anything he/she wants provided it doesn’t cause harm to others. There can be no intervention from the state or other individuals unless this is the case. To understand why, we must delve deeper into liberalism, the branch of political philosophy with which this excerpt is concerned. Liberalism is defined by Mill as the ability of the individual to execute his/her own “life-plan”. In short, this involves an individual being able to make his/her own decisions that influence his/her own life, regardless of what other individuals choose to do. For this to occur, an individual must be afforded the maximum amount of self-government, or autonomy. Without this very basic privilege, Mill argued, no individual can be said to lead a truly human existence. This is where Mill’s harm principle comes in. It seems clear that if one individual harms another, through whatever means, it makes it more difficult for the harmed individual to carry out parts of their “life-plan”. According to Mill, this is where intervention should occur. This is not a valid way of exercising your autonomy because you are putting the autonomy of other individuals at risk. This is what constitutes harm. However, the state or any other individual has no grounds to intervene if you’re not seen to harm others. This would unfairly deprive you of the autonomy that’s rightfully yours and you would cease to be free, in the liberal sense. It could potentially lead to others having control of aspects of your life in which they have no say, something which contravenes the idea of liberalism. This extends further, as the excerpt shows. The state and other individuals cannot intervene if you decide to do something which could potentially harm yourself but not other individuals. As an autonomous individual, you’ve made a decision which you perceive as being beneficial to yourself and...

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