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John Stwart Mills - John Stewart Mills Monday 12:00 PM...

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LIBERTY A person X has a general right to do action of type A if and only if people other than X shouldn't interfere with X's doing A. From the moral and political value of liberty flow all general rights . But what is the correct limitation of liberty and general rights? What types of action should be restricted? In particular, when in principle should the State interfere with X's doing A? Problem: Burke: the "oppression of the minority" Tocqueville: the "tyranny of the majority" Consider the enormous power of the modern State. DOES THE STATE OPERATE WITH THE RIGHT VALUE ASSUMPTIONS? Mill's Solution: The Harm Principle The State may restrict liberty only to prevent harm to others Self regarding acts: affect only the agent(s) Other regarding acts: affect others The harm principle protects self regarding acts from interference. It creates a sphere of liberty: Self regarding acts Other regarding acts 1. free (not coerced) 2. mature (competent to choose) 3. informed (knows what he/she is doing) Who is an agent of an action? Someone who, with respect to that action, is Objection: Others are always affected. 1. it violates a distinct and assignable (specific) obligation; 2. it renders agent incapable of performing a specific duty to others.
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