Philosophy Essay 2

Submitted By dyhu7778
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Pages: 5

(3) Explain and evaluate the principles John Stuart Mill uses to decide when we should be free to do as we please and when the government is justified in controlling our actions. Provide examples of each situation. Do the same for the issue of individual freedom of speech versus government control of speech. Why does Mill think that these principles are best? For our purposes, "explain" means to state the theory and to describe the important features of the theory in a manner that an intelligent but uninformed reader would understand. For our purposes, "evaluate" means (1) to determine whether or not the theory rests on a sound or cogent argument, and to (2) determine the overall plausibility of the theory. In this context, "plausibility" refers to the strengths and weaknesses of the theory).

Dylan Huff
4/10/11
Philosophy 111
Essay 2
John Stuart Mill is known for many things, including his work for women’s rights, and utilitarianism, but for our purposes he is also known for his idea of Justice as Social Utility. Mill distinguishes and defines the spheres of private and public of morality. Mill states that there are only two reason of when the government has the right to control the behavior of the people they serve. The first is when the metaphorical act of the government stepping will prevent harm and provide protection to its people. The second instance is to compel the individuals in their society to help benefit that society. Mill feels that rights are vague and not empirical; therefore his philosophy is based on utility and observable good consequences, which leads us to his Sphere of Liberty.
The Sphere of Liberty has two main components and sets the boundaries for government enforcement. The first part is an inward perspective which grants us an absolute right to freedom of expression and speech; we see this heavily rooted in our own American Constitution. The inward sphere of liberty also directly relates to J.S. Mill’s First Realm of Freedom; which protects all individual’s right to free speech, even if the speech is not truthful or if the speech unpopular. In America, the media is the best example of the first realm of freedom, due to the fact that the media can say investigate and broadcast their finding on anything they choose, they act as a watchful eye over politicians, and if any fishy business is going on Washington DC the people of America will be informed and then can choose take action, The Watergate Scandal is a perfect real life situation. Although it also can’t be forgotten that the free speech is unlimited to anyone and any group, like the KKK who can hold their Klan rallies in front of The Capital Building, as long as they cause no physical harm. While giving groups as violent as the KKK complete free speech isn’t necessary the most moral option but according to the utility principle and Mill justice is still present, because the greatest happiness was created for the greatest number. Another reason this realm of freedom is so important to the American way of life is capitalism. Allowing the freedom of speech and the freedom of ideas ensures us that there will always be a new era of great thinkers and great inventors. If someone like Bill Gates was afraid of what the government might do with his idea, whether they’ll steal his idea and turn it into a government profit, the government won’t protect him from someone else trying to steal his idea for their own profit, or the government would put a complete stop to his idea before it even got started. If it weren’t for this realm of freedom I wouldn’t be able to type this paper on Microsoft Word Processor, and we would also be stuck back in technological times of the American Revolution, or in other words we would be stuck at a big red intellectual stop sign for ever.
The second realm freedom is from an outward perspective, dealing with our choices and actions. Mill as mentioned earlier feels that one of the only times the government should…