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JS Mill Utilitarian or Libertarian.

Herophant

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Personally I see Mill as a Utilitarian first and a libertarian second, in the beginning of “on liberty” he states that his opinions are of a utilitarian basis.

I forego any advantage which could be derived to my argument from the idea of abstract right, as a thing independent of utility. 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 a man as a progressive being. Those interests, I contend, authorise the subjection of individual

I kind of got in to a fight with one of my professors over this who views Mill as a libertarian. What do you think?
 

Technocratic_Utilitarian

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Herophant said:
Personally I see Mill as a Utilitarian first and a libertarian second, in the beginning of “on liberty” he states that his opinions are of a utilitarian basis.

I forego any advantage which could be derived to my argument from the idea of abstract right, as a thing independent of utility. 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 a man as a progressive being. Those interests, I contend, authorise the subjection of individual

I kind of got in to a fight with one of my professors over this who views Mill as a libertarian. What do you think?

He's a Utilitarian. He wrote On Liberty before he wrote his best work on Utilitarianism (several years prior, in fact). During the entire time, he was a Utilitarian, however, as were his parents. Mill believed in an odd mix of of socialism and libertarianism. He believed that a market economy and personal freedoms, counteracted by some reasonable limitations to that freedom to minimize suffering, made the most practical Utilitarian society.

He was a Rule Utilitarian, and as a rule, he believed that recognizing and respecting freedoms and rights gave people the largest opportunity of recognizing happiness and the fulfillment of preferences.


Rights are important even under a Utilitarian system, as long as you go by Rules, since Rights tend to make society overall happier and better if they are respected.

He's not even a complete libertarian at all, since he strived for social and government reform for individuals and the creation of programmes Libertarians would never strive for. He was heavily into aid for the poor.

IE:

ts philosophical interest lay in Mill's reflections on the difference between what economics measured and what human beings really valued: leading Mill to argue that we should sacrifice economic growth for the sake of the environment, and should limit population as much to give ourselves breathing space as in order to fend off the risk of starvation for the overburdened poor. Mill also allowed that conventional economic analysis could not show that socialism was unworkable, and suggested as his own ideal an economy of worker-owned cooperatives. Commentators have argued inconclusively over whether this is a form of socialism or merely "workers' capitalism". Mill remains most nearly our contemporary in the area of moral and political philosophy, however. His Utilitarianism 1861 remains the classic defence of the view that we ought to aim at maximizing the welfare of all sentient creatures, and that welfare consists of their happiness.

http://www.utilitarianism.com/jsmill.htm
 
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