John Stuart Mill and Individuality from "On L..
Mill shares with Dupont-White the conviction that a growing social conscience, responding to the ethical requirements of mankind, significantly augments the activity of government, making it at times the unpaid agent of the poor and underprivileged. Partly under this influence the British parliament had regulated the hours of labour, prohibited the employment of children under a certain age, prevented employment of women and children in mines, and compelled manufacturers to maintain in factories those conditions that reduce accidents and lessen hazards to health. Thus in England a network of practical arrangements and compromises were fashioned between state and individual, between state and corporation, and between central and local authority, with what Mill regarded as salutary consequences for the body politic and for the kind of liberty he extolled.
John Stuart Mill’s essay On Liberty ..
The second objection is more nearly allied to our subject. In many cases, though individuals may not do the particular thing so well, on the average, as the officers of government, it is nevertheless desirable that it should be done by them, rather than by the government, as a means to their own mental education—a mode of strengthening their active faculties, exercising their judgment, and giving them a familiar knowledge of the subjects with which they are thus left to deal. This is a principal, though not the sole, recommendation of jury trial (in cases not political); of free and popular local and municipal institutions; of the conduct of industrial and philanthropic enterprises by voluntary associations. These are not questions of liberty, and are connected with that subject only by remote tendencies; but they are questions of development. It belongs to a different occasion from the present to dwell on these things as parts of national education; as being, in truth, the peculiar training of a citizen, the practical part of the political education of a free people, taking them out of the narrow circle of personal and family selfishness, and accustoming them to the comprehension of joint interests, the management of joint concerns—habituating them to act from public or semi-public motives, and guide their conduct by aims which unite instead of isolating them from one another. Without these habits and powers, a free constitution can neither be worked nor preserved; as is exemplified by the too-often transitory nature of political freedom in countries where it does not rest upon a sufficient basis of local liberties. The management of purely local business by the localities, and of the great enterprises of industry by the union of those who voluntarily supply the pecuniary means, is further recommended by all the advantages which have been set forth in this Essay as belonging to individuality of development, and diversity of modes of action. Government operations tend to be everywhere alike. With individuals and voluntary associations, on the contrary, there are varied experiments, and endless diversity of experience. What the State can usefully do, is to make itself a central depository, and active circulator and diffuser, of the experience resulting from many trials. Its business is to enable each experimentalist to benefit by the experiments of others; instead of tolerating no experiments but its own.
From the perspective of a century it is not difficult to cite the more salient ideas of Mill’s political thinking. Along with his theory of liberty he is deeply anxious to elicit and develop in every phase of government man’s rational faculty. This endeavour is a consistent strand in his discussions on representative institutions. He wants to see men governed by reasoned purpose to a far greater extent than they have ever been in the past, and to this end institutions must be designed. The paradox in Mill’s position is clear enough. He believes that a majority should rule, but thinks that only a minority is likely to have the requisite wisdom. As a reluctant democrat he seeks to select for public service those few with a cultivated and eminent intelligence. All his discussions on representation and the franchise are intended to protect individual and minority interests and ensure the maximum recognition for educated minds. He assumes that respect for intellectual distinction is unnatural to the democratic spirit, but in the interest of democracy everything possible must quickly be done to cultivate it. The act of voting should be emphasized as a rational decision made by people determined that reason has to prevail.
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The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him, must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
Analysing on Liberty by John Stuart Mill Essay Example …
People go to any means by which to obtain the many varied materials and issues that induce pleasures in each individual, and intrinsically, this emotion remains the ultimate goal, John Stuart Mill, a nineteenth century philosopher, correctly advocated the pursuit of happiness, and maintained the concept that above all other values, pleasure existed as the final destination, Mill's hedonistic views correctly and rationally identified a natural human tendency, and his Utilitarian arguments strongly support the theory that above all else, happiness is the most important dream to be fulfilled....
Analysing on Liberty by John Stuart Mill Essay
Such methods must, of course, be applied cautiously—theexistence of background conditions makes it difficult to say withcertainty that any individual phenomenon is in fact the causallyactive agent—and results will always be provisional, and open tofurther correction (Ducheyne 2008). But by carefully varyingconditions, Mill holds, we can isolate causes and reveal the lawswhich govern natural phenomena. We learn first to explain individualevents by showing that they are instances of known causal laws, andthen “in a similar manner, a law or uniformity in nature is saidto be explained, when another law or laws are pointed out, of whichthat law itself is but a case” (System, VII: 464). Bycontinued application of the Canons of Induction, the most generalLaws of Nature can be ascertained—this is the ultimate goal ofscience. Mill adopts a Humean account of such laws as regularities:“The expression, Laws of Nature, means nothing but theuniformities which exist among natural phenomena”(System, VII: 318). Nevertheless, he thinks that sciencereveals the deep structure of the world—how things genuinelyare.