John Stuart Mill Essay

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Ryan St. Germain May 28th, 2012 Mrs. Jordan HZT4U John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher and political economist who lived in the 1800’s. He has been called “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century” and many of his theory’s and principles are still practiced to this very day. Most of Mill’s theories are very correct however there are a few weaknesses to the ideas he expressed which will be discussed throughout this essay. Mill constructed theories on things like Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, and Slavery. One of his theories however was on a persons liberty, and the main idea being the Harm Principle. John Stuart Mill’s theories and principles are fundamentally correct and are the basis of many social and political philosophies that are still maintained today. “Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to promote the opposite of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain”( John Stuart Mill). This is a quote that explains the Harm Principle in a nutshell. The Harm Principle states that everybody in the world has a right to do whatever they want, as long as what they do does not harm anybody else. If what that person decides to do only affects themselves, then society does not have the right to intervene. However, because nobody lives completely on their own, harm done to oneself may cause emotional harm to those around which goes against the principle. This is a very interesting principle to study and look at, and it is pretty much what makes up the legal system today. If something does something to harm another person, the thing that they did is most likely illegal in which case society has the right to intervene. The weakness found with this principle however is how it says that if a person’s self- inflicted

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