Analysis Of John Stuart Mill's Harm Principle

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Whereas John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle proffers a judicious moral schema for the regulation of societal intervention regarding individual liberty, it fails as an unequivocal method of establishing the limits of political authority within a civilised society. The aforementioned principle dictates “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection”. This principle advocates strongly for a protection of individual freedoms essential to the advancement of a society and though insufficient on its own, it must be given proper consideration concerning limits. the principle is flawed as it operates on the invalid assumption that there…show more content…
Mill’s Harm Principle provides no concrete limitations while simultaneously allowing for numerous loopholes. Criteria for those to whom the principle should apply “being of full age, and the ordinary amount of understanding” is extremely vague and its meaning can change drastically depending on the opinions of the majority. Each individual matures at a different rate which provides the governing authority with the rationale for dictating full age be whatsoever they chose in order to ensure all individuals sovereign for themselves are capable. The ordinary amount of understanding is also subject to change throughout history and eligible persons may cease to meet criteria as society advances.. The argument that no action can be perfectly harmful to only one member of a society justifies with the Harm Principle any and all intrusions on individual freedom by pointing out a possible harm towards another. Mill states “Whenever, in short there is definite damage, or a of risk damage, either to an individual or to the public, the case is taken out of the province of liberty, and placed in that of morality or Law”. This statement is entirely open to the interpretation of those who would implement it. Each society’s definition of risk and damage is subject to their own discretion. It is unclear whether psychological damage is included, or only physical, corporeal harm. What constitutes as a risk could vary from slight obscure immeasurable possibility to only that which has been previously shown to occur historically. Following this line of argument the Harm Principle could also be manipulated to undermine the democratic method which is used to define it, creating a paradox. If the governing body, by their individual right to freedom, decide against the majority decision of who should be
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