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John Stuart Mill's principle of liberty - Essay Example

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John Stuart Mill's principle of liberty

I prefer this definition of public policy because it establishes a direct connection between expectations of a society and the effectiveness of their embodiment by governments. With such observations in mind, let us try to find out to what extent, if at all, John Stuart Mill's principle of liberty is a workable and attractive basis for public policy in light of real-life challenges. ...
ills principle to public policy, because in the latter case we may fail to exactly identify aspects of the principle that cause difficulties in its practical implementation as a basis for public policy. Besides, the fact Mill himself differentiated between the spheres of application of the principle of liberty in positive (freedom for personal development) and negative (knowledge that our freedom from harmful interference of others is protected) ways suggests that for him, as a utilitarian, this differentiation was needed in order to provide a practically applicable frame for his moral philosophy. Indeed, while for Mill the maximisation of happiness serves as the moral end, he realises that the task of distribution of limited amount of goods that can promote happiness requires the establishment of strict social norms violation of which should be punished for the common benefit.
The first part of the Millian principle of liberty, which declares that a person has the right to do whatever he or she wants and be free from the interference from other people, stems from Mills principle of utility "grounded on the permanent interest of man as a progressive being".1 By this Mill implies that the choice of forms of governance should be based on their capacity to promote development of faculties of each individual, which would generally increase moral freedom, responsibility, and rationality among people, thus leading to more happiness. This aim is justified by the fact that free personal development is an end for each individual, and at the same time is a proper way for the whole society to thrive.1 So, it is after all the utility that dictates the best forms of social life.2 Therefore, with the personal development being the basic value, Mill states that liberty, insofar as it ...Show more

Summary

Today our society is preoccupied with notions of democracy, liberty, and observance of human rights, which we may tend to view as symbols of modernity. But many of us forget that modern Western societies rest on the heritage of thinkers who during several centuries had been laying the ground for modern democratic institutions and practices.1 In this regard, one of the important historical figures involved into perhaps the most thorough defence of principles of liberalism was John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), the British philosopher and economist thought to be among the most influential philosophers of the nineteenth century.2 In his treatise "On Liberty" Mill offered a principle of liberty which …
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