Philosophy 115 Week Two
- According to Mills, how can we draw the distinction between where the law
should be silent and where it should not be?
- Mills recognizes the old distinction of the private sphere and the public sphere,
but adds his own twist of self regarding and other regarding actions.
- A self-regarding action is an action that directly, significantly and solely
concerns the person who is committing to the action.
- Mills believes that the state should not have an impact on these self-
regarding actions; ie. Your taste in music.
- As it is only the actor’s business it should be nobody else’s.
- Other regarding actions are actions that impact other members of society.
- Critics of Mills would state that there is no such thing as a self-regarding
action as there is always a chain of individuals that is somehow
inadvertently affected by your choice.
- For Plato, it is more important that individuals act in a just way, then through their
- All of Mills’ arguments for human rights and liberty rest on a utilitarian premise;
that these issues are imperative for the common good.
- The purpose of government is to pursue the common good; there is no better
argument for human liberty than the common good.
- Mill’s Individual Liberty
- We often expect governments to pass laws that violate our individual
- The ideal of individual liberty has evolved into a truism, an empty truth
that we take for granted.
- When a political ideal becomes taken for granted, it is essentially lost.