PHL271 FEB 25TH
Reading for this week: Mill
Reading for next week: Berlin (Monday) and MacKinnon (Wednesday)
NEXT TEST: March 18
Tests returned during TUTORIAL
What should a legal system do?
JOHN STUART MILL
On Liberty (1859)
• Not 20 century philosopher.
• However, relevant to all future societies.
• Family of Utilitarian reformers
People who, with this principal of utility, that this action is right when creating greatest
happiness for the greatest numbers. Trying to reconfigure English society.
• Childhood education ('I was never a boy')
Raised in the idea to be an instrument to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest
number. Be a social reformer of his time like any other. Raised by be a Utilitarian
• Mental Crisis of 1826
Unwinding of his mind. Began to realize he never had a life. Never had the freedom to
determine what he wanted. Rebelled. Objected to the utilitarian idea that he was an
• Harriet Taylor
One of the leading feminist philosophers. Falls in love with her. Companionship for 21
years before her husband dies. They are shunned. Makes the idea that the popular
opinion can be tyrannical
• Mill's Political Career.
Tries to promote number of progressive approaches. Gender equality. However not
THE OLD THREAT TO LIBERTY
• The meaning of liberty in the ancient world:
Liberty -> Protection against tyranny of political rulers
• Threat to liberty
Aruler might use power to pursue his/her own self-interest rather than the common interest of the
ruled. PHL271 FEB 25TH
• SOLUTION (pp 307-8)
Create democratic societies. Problems with the ancient models is the fact there are rulers. No guarantee
that the ruler will exercise power in the way that it will be beneficial to the ruled.