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PHIL individual vs society

PHIL individual vs society - Gibbs 1 Robin Gibbs Professor...

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Gibbs 1 Robin Gibbs Professor Sullivan PHIL 100 May 8, 2007 The Individual vs. Society There has always been a struggle between individual rights and the authority of the community or government. John Stuart Mill believes that a community never has the right to limit the individual unless he or she is causing harm to others. In the case of a teacher who wishes to teach creationism in his biology class, or of a lesbian couple trying to adopt a child, society may not interfere. What each of these people wants to do brings no harm to others, and if society were to limit them, they would be destroying the individual’s sovereignty. John Stuart Mill’s principles put forth an ideal for how society should be. Mill believes that there are three sections of liberty. Thought, discussion, and action. People should have absolute freedom of thought and discussion, the government and society have no right to limit these. Discussion is where truth is found. Action may only be limited when it is harming others. Man, “cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forebear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.” Society has no right to stop an individual from doing what harms only themselves.
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