Mill Freedom Of Action

Freedom of action explained

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 21-06-11 14:21

New possibilities

Mill argues that action will not be as free as opinions. 

He argues that freedom of action may lead to a situation where out eyes are opened to new possibilities. if we are aware of others experiments of living then we may improve our own situation; he argues that genius 'can only breath' in an atmposhere of freedom. 

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better political life

Mill argues that freedom of action can lead to a better political life as he claimed it was dominated by middle class and public opinion (collective mediocrity). With freedom of action and a lack of TOM there is the possibility of renewed and invigorated political life.

This will lead to happiness too: utilitarian justification

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Increased individual happiness and a fully develop

Humans are not like sheep; they require the right conditions to develop. The things that distinguish humans and give them worth is their ability to reason, judge, discriminate and choose. Reason is like a muscle that needs to be exercised- it is like a tree that needs to grow in all directions not like an ape and purely imitative.

Mill stresses the importance of spontaneity, individual experience. freedom of action brings human beings themselves nearer to the best they can be. 

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Prevent a county's slide into decline

Freedom of action will lead to social improvement and progress. 

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Leaving the individual to do what they like could set a bad example to others

Are people rational enough for this freedom? Many views such as conservatives have a lower estimation of human nature

Since we protect children, why not protect adults too from harming themselves? Mill would resond with a dislike to paternalism

Law and morality debate -  are some actions just wrong? 

With freedom from inteference lead to idleness and lack of interest

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Experiments of living are of key importance: individual spontaneity is intrinsically valuable

Benefit to the individual:
- need to be like trees rather than apes
- trees need to grow and develop on all sides
- muscle analogy
- human beings should become noble and beautiful objects of contemplation

Benefit to society:
- prevents society from becoming a 'stagnant pool'
- freedom of action leads to the creation of genius
- opens our eyes to new possibilities 
- political life becomes more invigorated

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