John Stuart Mill's Argument Analysis

Better Essays
Society creates a format in which individuals are expected to craft themselves in order to live up to society’s expectations. People act a certain way or reflect in a manner that is constructed through what is understood as social norms. When that social construction is not practiced, these individuals are punished under the law. This paper will discuss how sex work involving adults should be normalized, such that activities associated with Adult Prostitution, such as advertising sex for sale or buying sex, should be decriminalized, normalized, and regulated. When developing the argument for this topic, I will use the theories of autonomy, the harm principle, and welfare paternalism to create an understanding of independence and self-governance. …show more content…
The harm principle ensures that self-ruling and self-governance is implemented in society to the extent that it does not damage people in the process. In order to better understand the harm principle, we must take a deeper look into Mill’s theoretical approach of the concept. He first beings with distinguishing a difference between what is harm and a mere offence (Brink 2007, ch.3.6, para. 2). Harm is an action that is “injurious or set[s] back important interest[s] of particular people, interests in which they have rights,” whereas a mere offence is something that Mill’s does not see as a defence under the harm principle (Brink 2007, ch.3.6, para. 2). The second concept beneath the harm principle is that this principle is imposed to prevent someone from trying to cause harm in a certain way. It can become difficult trying to guard individuals from harm, therefore, allowing for citizens to self-govern themselves so they can determine what is safe and harmful. From what we can understand, the harm principle regulates a relationship between individuals and the government, however Mill’s wants this theory to dig deeper and apply its foundation within the family (Brink 2007, ch.3.6). The relationship between individuals and the government is merely based on the idea of self-ruling and self-governance. In terms of the family, Mill’s wants there to be a harm free relationship between husbands, wives, and their children so that the actions taken by family members does not cause harm on others in that family. Mill’s then focuses on non-consensual harm where he discusses that it is applied when “one has knowingly and willing risked something harmful, one cannot legitimately complain when that harm comes home to roost” (Brink 2007, ch.3.6, para.5).

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He argues that the proper conduct is on how an individual should act whenever they are participating in society. Due to the fact that some people cause harm and cannot be punished by law, Mill explains that the opinion and judgment by society is enough for punishment. This causes some notable problems because in fact, it may not be enough punishment for an individual, especially if they continue to cause injury to others. Also, the author encourages public scrutiny and criticism of the individual causing harm. Whenever society gains jurisdiction, they can disclose their opinion of an individual and warn others of the potential danger that they may cause.…

    • 1426 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Disobedience In Society

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Society are formed for the “mutual preservation of [citizen’s] lives, liberties and estate.”. To act against a law, a person must value their moral integrity as more valuable than the preservation of their property. The societal laws should not be based solely on majority values, instead those values which everyone may compromise to and not be restricted or have their consciences in contention should be upheld. Once an individual has determined that they cannot adapt their view for the protection society provides their property, then that individual has a duty to act on their morals or to leave that…

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Third Party Omissions

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Firstly, the essay looked at the category of actions, where the defendant agrees to act or voluntarily accepts a responsibility, but later fails to do so. It is argued that this category demonstrates assumption of responsibility as fair because taking upon a responsibility, voluntary or contractually renders one to rely upon that person to deliver that specific care. If one could later fail to carry out the responsibility and this omission caused harm, it would not deter people from committing such torts if one was not imposed with liability. Secondly, the category of special relationships has been conceded here to be fair, as having that proximity and causing an omission is not right or justifiable.…

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It should be looked at case by case to take into consideration content and then determined whether the act immoral based on sound justifications in the terms Dworkin lays out. Society has a right to protect itself from harm and not what enacts an emotional response. Our society is strong enough to undergo moral changes that take place overtime and these changes do not corrupt our morals to the point of disintegration. If an immoral act is harmful against an individual or society as a whole there is a right to take action to rectify the situation so harm is no longer permitted. Devlin and Dworkin agree that not every individual is capable of giving consent and there should be restrictions of what individuals are capable of such, this would allow legal intervention in some of the acts Devlin considers immoral.…

    • 1204 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    And if a government could perform their role in protecting people’s right, no harm should occur to such a society. Civil disobedience is a political act that should be exercised with a good aim to fight for public goods. It’s also crucial to be peaceful and non-violent. Civil disobedience exposes society to harm. It may encourage disrespect towards legal system, it could paralyze financial development and interfere with people’s daily living.…

    • 912 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Mill implied that a person’s conduct and concepts deserves to be protected from social violation. A person’s act should be given freely and should not have any influences from customs, expectations, or public opinion. Mills indicated that the choice of behavior should come from the way we ought to be even it happens to be different from what others are not accustomed to (Philosophy Pages, 2015). Mill stressed that each individual is accountable for their selves that consist of their own feelings, ideas, and interests. However, the state justifies in controlling and limiting the behaviors of those posing harm to others through a violation of their rights.…

    • 1137 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Society will create certain norms that are deemed acceptable or unacceptable, ultimately this is up to the society. Therefore since the harm principles promotes a truly individualistic rights theory. The state cannot give the power to individuals to do what they please, that is not how society will function, society will always come first. The state must worry not about the individual but how their actions will affect the society as a whole. Therefore the state must protect society with their justification through the norms of society.…

    • 1125 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty attempts to broaden the meaning of utility and depict the usefulness of utilitarianism in terms of right protection. With this, Mill rejects the coercion of conformity and celebrates individuality. His work can be broken down into two basic principles. The first principle establishes that people are not accountable to society for the actions that only concern themselves. The second, also known as the harm principle, establishes that the individual is accountable for actions that hurt others, and society can punish a person for such actions.…

    • 977 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This means that the truth of what is right or wrong is strictly undetermined by external stimuli, predispositions, or emotions during the situation. Instead, it is logically consistent. His deontological moral system is based around categorical imperatives as an alternative to hypothetical ones. He firmly believed that hypothetical imperatives, or any action based on desire, cannot persuade moral actions and judgements within a society, because the imperatives on which they rely are too heavily based on subjective circumstances. Although, this is true in the sense that it is important to have a legislative and executive governing branch that does determine societies’ morals by enforcing laws.…

    • 789 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Therefore, non-disclosure would only infringe on the people’s rights (Global Campaign for Free Expression, 1999, p. 3). It would be ethical to disclose information in such instances. Furthermore, in case non-disclosure involves hiding criminal acts and misuse of power, ethical practices dictates that one is obligated to report such offences. However, one must be careful not to threaten national security or incite conflict in the process of disclosure. It would be unethical if the disclosure was to negatively impact on the…

    • 1284 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays