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Final Paper Notes - Political Science 1 Final Paper How...

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Political Science 1: Final Paper How might someone sympathetic to the positions taken by Socrates in Plato’s Republic respond to the central argument of Mill’s On Liberty ? How might someone sympathetic to Mill best respond? Of the two, who has the better argument? 1. Layout of Mills Essay Central theme of freedom and liberty (of speech, action and thought) - Mill believes that in order for man to find happiness he must possess these things. In his society these individual liberties must be protected as rights. Mill believes that the end good is happiness. Happiness is in its quality and is equal to pleasure . Mills main goal is to promote happiness for the greatest number of people, much like the ideas of utilitarianism. o The only time an infringement upon this liberty is warranted is when it is to prevent harm to someone else- this is known as the “liberty of action” o Though Mill’s central principle is the promotion of freedom and liberty he does make sure to limit who that liberty applies to only societies that are structured and developed. He speaks specifically against “backwards states of society” as well as children and the mentally disabled. Mill believes that is ok to infringe upon people’s freedom when they themselves cannot determine what is best for them, thus the infringement is for their own well being. They must be protected against their actions as well as external threats. Mills focus on the development of individuality (personality) and spontaneity through discussion and experiments of living. Individuality is an inherent good to society. Its development leads to opinions and beliefs other than that of the majority through constant contradiction and argumentation. Without a constant challenge to a belief, citizens then lose the ability and knowledge of defense. Mill preaches against conformity as it is seen not only bad for that individual but also for the interest and development of society and mankind. Liberty as
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such then requires that of making a choice. Mill much like Socrates Mill says that the maturity and development of one’s own “facilities” is required for good decisions to be made. (Though Mills argument of the development of facilities has its foundation in Socrates’ theory it is not quite as limited.
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