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John Stuart mill- on liberty, 1859

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Whitney Blessing

on 2 June 2015

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Transcript of John Stuart mill- on liberty, 1859

On Liberty
In 1859, he wrote a book called
On Liberty
, which made statements on the freedoms that individuals should enjoy within any society.
Who Exercises Power Over Individuals?
Tyranny of Majority
Over time, the meaning of liberty changed along with the role of rulers, who were now seen as servants of the people rather than their masters.
Tyranny of the majority was when a democratic majority forces its will upon the minority.
Mill believed that it was worse than tyranny of government because it is not limited to only a political function.
This caused rebellion and restrained individuality.
Mill expresses his concept of individual freedom in his piece On Liberty
On Liberty conveys his belief that society advances from low to high phases causing a structure of representative democracy
Through this structure Mill sees the growth and development of liberty.
John Stuart mill- on liberty, 1859
3 Basic Liberties
1. The freedom of thought and emotion. This includes the freedom of expression, speech, etc.

2. The freedom to pursue tastes (provided they do no harm to others), even if they are deemed "immoral" or "inappropriate".

3. The freedom to unite so long as the involved members are of age, the involved members are not forced, and no harm is done to others.
Authority vs Liberty
Famous Quote
"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
By: Abby, Sandy, Whitney, Liz, Betty
John Stuart Mill
Born in Pentonville, England on May 20, 1806, and died at the age of 66 in Avignon, France.
British philosopher, political economist and civil servant.
Contributor to social theory, political theory and political economy.
Context: Strong believer of empiricism, utilitarianism, and liberalism during the Victorian time period.
MILL'S philosophy
Argued: as long as the individual’s thought and actions affected only the individual’s thinking or acting, he or she should think and do as they please
If the thought or action interfered with others, than society was justified in limiting the action
Individuals owe duties to society in return for benefits received
No interference is justified when ideas/actions only affect the life of the individual who originates them
Question: Do we make decisions in our everyday life based on the benefits we’re planning to receive from society?

On Liberty - originally intended as a short essay.
Discusses the maximum power that society can exercise over an individual
The work, published in 1859, applies Mill's ethical system of utilitarianism to society and the state.
Mill attempts to establish standards for the relationship between authority and liberty.

“Human liberty comprises of consciousness, demanding liberty of thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion, liberty of expressing our opinions, liberty of tasting and pursuits; framing our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like… so long as what we do does not harm [others]”
"Actions are right if they bring about happiness for the greater good, and wrong if they bring the reverse."

Question: Do you think laws are created to benefit the system or to benefit the people?

The Harm Principle
Refers to a limitation that is necessary over absolute freedom, whether it be
"physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral enforcement of public opinion"
, as long as harm is not placed upon
"any member of a civilized community, against his will"
People living in a "backward states of society"
Question: What do you think Mill is trying to say about the power of public opinions vs authority?
Suicide does not harm other members of society but the person that's committing it. Should people who inflict harm on themselves be punished for it?
Question: Does free will really exist?

Are we trapped in a repeating cycle of the system?

The right to die
Do you think euthanasia should be legal and implemented in society?
The consistency of individual autonomy, as Mill outlined, indicates that just as we can live as we wish (with certain constraints), we should be able to die as we wish, too.
Tyranny of Majority
on liberty
“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others...

on liberty
“Everyone who receives the protection from society owes a return for the benefit, and should be bound to observe a certain line of conduct towards the rest.”
Question: What duties do you think we owe to society?
Question: Should a military individual serving society be allowed freedom to inflict physical or psychological harm against someone else? (Bill C-51, police brutality)
``the individual is not accountable to society for his actions in so far these concern the interests of no person but himself``
liberty and freedom
Should marijuana be legalized and regulated?
Full transcript