Mill 's Conception Of Liberty Essay example
Liberty is the state of being free within a society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority (such as the government) on ones way of life or behaviour. John Stuart Mill was a 19th century philosopher and political thinker who proposed the question: To what extent does society have the right to control and impose limits on thoughts, beliefs and actions of individuals? He believed that this would be a question of the future and tried to answer this question. In his famous essay On Liberty, Mill sets out to investigate “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” and who actually exercises power over individuals. Berlin defined being free as “not being interfered with by others. The wider the area of non-interference, the wider my freedom.” (Berlin, 123)
In this essay I explore and evaluate Mill’s conception of Liberty with the use of negative and positive freedoms. I will argue the how important it is to have freedoms for ones well being, and how negative freedom trumps positive freedom in any society by displaying the problems of positive freedom. To defend my work I have used evidence from the writings for Mill and Berlin.
As most of us know, governments impose the laws and rules that control the way we must behave on a daily basis, which is a threat to individual liberty as Mill would say. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to…