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Lecture 31

PLSC 115 Lecture 31: Mill and advancing liberty
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2 Pages
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Spring 2016

Department
Political Science
Course Code
PLSC 115
Professor
All
Lecture
31

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Mill/Advancing Liberty
Monday, April 25, 2016
1:05 PM
John Stuart Mill
Pleasure and pain are quantitative and may be measured. All pain and pleasure are
not the same. Some things bring us more pain and/or pleasure than others.
Human Nature All people are equal and equality requires that all individuals be free
to develop their personal inner potential to the fullest. He was an advocate of equal
opportunity but at the same time an elitist. He believed that personal development is
uneven, and unique differences must be recognized. Only a small minority can be
called geniuses- they are the leaders in society the rest are followers. Society is at its
best when the geniuses are identified and the rest of the people follow the lead of the
geniuses.
Liberty- The only justification for interfering with anyone else’s liberty is self-defense.
The private life of the individual is beyond the control of others, especially the
government. The job of government is preventing harm to others. An individual’s
independence is absolute.
Mill distinguishes between two kinds of action: public and private
Public acts are those involving the rights of others and it is the job of the government
to regulate such acts. Individuals have a right to self-protection and can be required by
law not to physically harm others.
Education is the key to liberty
Private actions are unrelated to public responsibilities. They are acts that cannot hurt
others and do not affect other people’s rights. People are free to perform them as they
choose.
Benefits to liberty
1. Its leads to personal self-realization. By making their own choices in life they are able
to seek self-fulfillment
2. Society as a whole benefits from liberty. Liberty promotes human progress which is
the highest goal of social life (the introduction of new ideas)
Spheres of liberty -
1. Liberty of conscience the expression and publication of personal opinion.
2. Liberty of tastes and pursuits the selection of entertainment as well as career
3. Liberty of combination - free association of individuals who unite for any purpose not
involving harm to others
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Description
Mill/Advancing Liberty Monday, April 25, 2016 1:05 PM John Stuart Mill Pleasure and pain are quantitative and may be measured. All pain and pleasure are not the same. Some things bring us more pain and/or pleasure than others. Human Nature All people are equal and equality requires that all individuals be free to develop their personal inner potential to the fullest. He was an advocate of equal opportunity but at the same time an elitist. He believed that personal development is uneven, and unique differences must be recognized. Only a small minority can be called geniuses- they are the leaders in society the rest are followers. Society is at its best when the geniuses are identified and the rest of the people follow the lead of the geniuses. Liberty- The only justification for interfering with anyone elses liberty is self-defense. The private life of the individual is beyond the control of others, especially the government. The job of government is preventing harm to others. An individuals independence is absolute. Mill distinguishes between two kinds of action: public and private Public acts are those involving the rights of others and it is the job of the government to regulate such acts. Individuals have a right to self-protection and can be required by law not to physically harm others. Education is the key to liberty Private actions are unrelated to public responsibilities. They are acts that cannot hurt others and do not affect other peoples rights. People are free to perform them as they choose. Benefits to liberty 1. Its leads to personal self-realization. By making their own choices in life they are able to seek self-fulfillment 2. Society as a whole benefits from liberty. Liberty promotes human progress which is the highest goal of social life (the introduction of new ideas) Spheres of liberty - 1. Liberty of conscience the expression and publication of personal opinion. 2. Liberty of tastes and pursuits the selection of entertainment as well as career 3. Liberty of combination - free association of individuals who unite for any purpose not involving harm to others Truth Ultimately the completely free expression of ideas leads toward the goal of truth. Individual liberty constantly challenging accepted wisdom enables truth to emerge There are three main reasons to allow free expression of opinions contrary to accepted beliefs: 1. A new opinion might be true and supplant the old false one 2. A new idea might be partially true exposing false ideas contained in part of the accepted view helps to correct old beliefs 3. Even if a new idea is completely false, shielding an old correct one from attack would turn what is true into a mere prejudice free expression of false views strengthens the truth Limited Government - Mill describes three situations in which the individual decision- making is preferred to that of the government: 1. When actions can be done in a better w
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