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Online_Lecture_20 - PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics “ Out...

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Unformatted text preview: PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics “ Out of t e crooked T mber of humani ¡ no s ¢ aight t ing was ever made .” — Immanuel Kan £ 1 John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty ( II ) 2 The Harm Principle ❖ Society may justifably interFere with an individual’s liberty — whether by legal or extralegal means — only iF it is necessary to prevent some other person From being harmed ❖ InterFerence, thereFore, is no t justifed in the Following cases ( unless harm to others is involved ) : ( i ) To make the person happier in the long run ( ii ) To protect the person From harming himselF ( iii ) To stop a morally impermissible act 3 Clarifcation oF HP ❖ Note well: HP does no t say that interFerence with your liberty is only justifed when you cause harm ( or threaten to cause harm ) to somebody else ❖ Can you think why this is important? ❖ Think oF jury duty, For example, or the military draFt. These both interFere with your liberty — you are forced to participate — but the interFerence is justifed because both practices prevent harm to others ❖ In neither case, however, were you about to harm somebody or threatening to harm somebody 4 Clarifcation oF HP ( cont’d ) ❖ It’s easy to Fall into thinking that HP only forbids actions, namely, actions that cause harm to others ❖ But Mill makes clear that it also requires actions: “A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them For the injury” ( OL, 11 ) ❖ So although liberty- loving Mill is no Friend oF coercion, he clearly believes that society ( or the state ) can legitimately forc e you to act iF it is necessary to prevent harm ❖ Examples: good samaritan laws, compulsory testimony, the draFt, jury duty, and so on 5 WWMD?...
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This note was uploaded on 06/09/2011 for the course PHIL 4 taught by Professor Chandler during the Fall '08 term at UCSB.

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Online_Lecture_20 - PHIL 4: Introduction to Ethics “ Out...

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