Philosophy 1305F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: John Stuart Mill, Paternalism, On Liberty

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Mallory Thompson October 19th 2015
Questions of the Day – Should Marijuana Use Be Legal?
The Argument Against Paternalism
State paternalism – rights issued by the state that help protect us from ourselves
and others
Paternalistic example of a law – a law that would prevent you from doing drugs
because the state is trying to prevent you from harming yourself
oMoral issues arise – interference
State Paternalism violates your negative right
Right to freedom – freedom to do drugs – it might cause you harm
Dwarkin argues that the state has liberty to protect you from yourself – protect
you from harming yourself by doing drugs
John Stuart Mill
Mills Harm Principle
oFormulated in his paper “On Liberty” – (pg. 474)
2 parts to this principle
oOne concerning others
oOne concerning the self
If you bring harm to others then the state can intervene because you are harming
someone else (The state wants to protect that other person) – this doesn’t involve
your liberty
If you harm yourself the state that can’t step in because that is a violation of your
Harm to others is a state concern
The burden is placed on those who want to interfere
You know yourself best – presumption by Mill
Presumption – what you do isn’t going to bring harm to others – you have to show
that you’re going to bring harm to others
Dworkin – Paternalism
We cannot justify state paternalism
Paternalism that protects you from yourself
Paternalistic type laws
oLaws regulating the use of certain drugs which may have harmful
consequences to the user but do not lead to anti-social conduct.
Arguments for Criminalization
oThe Harm Principle
Medical Definition
How to we medically define a drug?
oAny substance other then food which by its chemical nature affects the
structure or function of the living organism
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