Mill On Liberty Analysis

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Throughout J.S. Mill’s On Liberty, he claims that one must think critically about the policies and norms of one’s society, and consider the “harm principle” in its regards to one’s individual liberties. He goes forth to justify that his principle is not bounded to a strict interpretation because the norms in one society during a specific time would greatly differ from a separate society in another time. His claim is especially imperative and relevant to the present day because of the current issues of liberty regarding international adoption. Though the ideas Mill discusses in On Liberty are applicable to present day, they should serve as guidelines rather than restrictions because of the situational controversies in adoption. Mill’s “harm principle” is based on the principle of utility and how he differentiates action and inaction. By first claiming “I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions; but it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of man as a progressive being” (Mill 10), he means that he wants to do the greatest good, thus declaring himself as a utilitarian. Concerning…show more content…
For instance, when evaluating one’s individual liberty over international or domestic adoption, they should critically analyze and relate to the “harm principle”. Mill would argue that adopting from rural provinces in China that have lower health standards than one’s own country, the United States, would do less harm because the orphanages in China would provide inadequate care/more harm in comparison to orphanages in the States. This example serves as his guideline over the legal limits of whether the government should only allow international
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