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Philosophy 4-4.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1070
Professor
Robert Mc Gill
Semester
Spring

Description
Philosophy 04/04/2014 Mill On Liberty Restricting the idea of “HARM” HARM = the violation of a “distinct and assignable obligations” “Distinct and assignable obligations to others” = 1. To respect basic rights Life, bodily integrity, property 2. To do one’s fare share to protect society from injury Pay taxes to ensure national defense, law enforcement So, according to the Harm Principle: Society MAY prevent you from violating obligations to others If your action does NOT violate these obligations, it’s allowed In plain English… “If it doesn’t break your leg or pick your pocket, you have to let it happen.” –Thomas  Jefferson, in defense of freedom of religion. “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor  breaks my leg.” Individuals should be FREE to: Offend feelings, convictions, tastes, & preferences of others Use offensive, politically­incorrect language Engage in acts that others find disgusting or repulsive Advocate opinions that others find deeply mistaken Subscribe to beliefs or lifestyles that anger or revolt a majority Individuals may be PROHIBITED from: Inflicting harm to the life, physical integrity, or property of non­consenting adults Murder, assault, theft, breach of contract Mill’s Defense of the Harm Principle: We should always do what maximizes happiness (remember Mill is a utilitarian) Allowing all speech & conduct not harmful to others will maximize happiness Harm is defined in terms of our obligation to respect the rights of others Obligations and rights are determined by what maximizes happiness Apparent Tension: Utilitarianism Aims to justify laws, policies, and lifestyles base on how they increase the overall happiness of everyone  affected Harm Principle Aims to defend a broad range of individual freedom Problem More freedom for individual/minority = less happiness for majority Mill wants to base liberty on Utilitarianism, but these ideas seem to be in conflict Can Mill prove that br
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