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Mill vs. Raz - Essay Example

Guided by 'one very simple principle' he outlines an argument for a system, which he believed, provided the best possible environment for individual and social progress (Mill, 1991, p.30). Mill advocates for human's shortcoming and their incompleteness of knowledge, which means that the "truth" is not always the truth. Based on Mill's assertions, any one group who attempts to coerce another group or individual is breaching individual liberty, which leads to the stagnation of the intellectual community. The key to progress lies in the condition of seeking the best span of human experience and development. The individual in the Millian liberal society is engaged in 'experiments in living'; attempts to find "new, deeper or merely different sources of happiness in life", uncoerced by the state or fellow individuals. (Ryan, 1991, p.166) The most important aspect of well-being is to note that the individual has complete authority in matters regarding themselves, society does not have the right to restrict the individual, as long as the actions of the individual is not causing harm to themselves or others. Liberty is, therefore, an integral component of well-being; liberty provides the best possible conditions to achieve the "permanent interests of man as a progressive being." (Mill, 1991, p.31)
In Joseph's Raz's The Morality of Freedom, his theory does not rest on a human being's fallacies but instead he argues that the individual's w...
Raz creates an idea of the individual's well-being results from not just one being but that individual's situation within a culture, history, and society. He makes the simple argument that if a government can make a universal decision to prevent murder, then the state can act in defense of moral reason. Raz states that 'governments should promote the moral quality of the life of those whose lives and actions they can affect.' (1988, p.415) He advocates that the individuals will adapt to society's preferences and then will be able to have a good life, striving for well-being. Raz declares that the importance of a liberal society does not rely on the individual choice, as it does for Mill, but instead the individual should be able to choose between various alternatives that have been determined and supported by the society where the individual resides. A person's well-being should not be dependant on how the individual lives their life and how they determine their actions to be of vale but rather their well-being rests on how living a life is valuable independent of how it helps the individual. As he explains, an "autonomous life is valuable only if it is spent in the pursuit of acceptable and valuable projects and relationships." (1988, p.417)
To best illustrate Mill and Raz's ideals for an individual's well-being take for example an person's addiction to alcohol. Through Mill's theory, the demand and priority for an individual's liberty in this self-regarding conduct and the belief in human experimentation does not accrue any benefits for the individual. It is highly unlikely that the majority of individuals will benefit from a life influenced by drugs. Raz on the other hand argues that the life of a drug addict is clearly inferior in terms ...Show more


In John Stuart Mill's publication On liberty, Mill describes his principles on the individuals well being. He stresses that the only reason power should be exerted over any member of a civilized community, against their will, is if it is to prevent harm to others…
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Mill vs. Raz
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