What is political philosophy?
Intro to Political Philosophy and Mill
1. What is political philosophy?
2. The harm principle
We constitue a government
Three key points
1. The government is said to be the soul of the body – political ( because the soul is sovereign over
the physical body
Sovereignty “supremacy with respect to power and rank”
2. Concord and sedition are supposed to correspond respectively, to health and sickness.
Key: the body – politic can be more or less healthy depending on the relation of its part to one
3. The body politic was created by fiat. That is , we made it: it is not god – given or biologically
necessary or anything. That means we can recreate the state anyway we see it
Thee broad questions of political philosophy
To what extent is the government justified in coercing citizens and on what ground?
Do citizens have a moral obligation to obey the laws that governments create, even unjust laws
What is the fairest way to distribute society’s resources
How to justify governmental restrictions on individual liberty
1. To prevent sin ( legal moralism)
2. To prevent offense to others ( offence principle)
3. To prevent harm to the self (paternalism)
4. To benefit others ( the welfare principle)
5. To prevent harm to others (the harm principle)
2. The Harm Principle
4 key points from Mill
1. Indiviudals should be considered free to express themselves any way they see fit. Express here
means: do anything they see fit (pg206 right hand column) 2. But that the limit to that freedom is the ability to others in society to expr