PHIL 120W Lecture Notes - On Liberty, Paternalism, Negative Cost

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18 Nov 2012
October 29th, 2012 Illicit Drugs 1
Summary on issue page 431-434
Wilson drugs shouldn’t be legalized page 434
Block drugs should be legalized page 440
Historical Events
As far back as 5000 BC Samarians using opium
3500 BC earliest historical record of production of alcohol
10000 BC Neolithic fermented beverages to get high
2500 BC lake dwellers of Switzerland eating poppy seeds
1493 BC use of tobacco introduced by Columbus after he discovered indigenous people using it
50 BC indigenous smoking tobacco
MAJOR THEMES (Incorporate into paper)
Costs and Benefits
Utilitarian considerations often used with arguments for/against drugs
o Utilitarianism is about consequences of actions
Weighing costs and benefits
COSTS (Criminalizing Drugs)
Money, prison space, court time
Are all of these drugs the same? Subjective element with what type of people use them
Should laws be consistent in relation to the type of drug?
The “soft” drugs such as nicotine and alcohol cause more harm
Prescription pills
making decisions for yourself in your full capacity
make drugs illegal because when people take drugs, they lose their autonomy
Liberty (freedom) how we conceive freedom is going to determine how we view the use of drugs
Mill freedom discussed The Harm Principle in On Liberty
A politician basically said “my freedom to swing my fist ends where your face begins”
The only reason that I can’t do something is that it would harm someone
Government doesn’t have a right to interfere with our lives unless it harms someone
Even if I harm myself through my actions, this is not sufficient grounds for government intervention. “So
therefore I can take drugs without being intervened.”
Mill doesn’t really define harm (he somewhat focuses on psychological and physical harm)
Paternalism we control what people on the grounds that you know what is in their best interest. Mill
thinks there are two cases of paternalism with the government:
o Mentally ill
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