In short, the footnote adds an unnecessary interpretive gloss that is not only mistaken, but linguistically incompetent. How does this sort of thing happen? How do editors selected for their special expertise persist in printing a mistaken footnote that cannot fail to mislead the readers who need to consult it? One obvious cause is that fewer people today with reputations for expertise in the history of political philosophy know any Latin.
But that is neither surprising nor especially problematic. What is surprising and problematic is that someone who could not pass a second semester Latin course thought that he or she was perfectly competent in Latin, and then various editors simply copied and pasted the mistake with a bit of variation and without bothering to ask anyone who does know Latin whether the note was right.
So part of the story is sheer editorial sloth, but that is not the whole story. What we have here is the spectacle of ignorant people presuming that they know perfectly well how to understand something that they are quite evidently not in a position to understand. Related Papers. By umar javeed. By Antis Loizides. By TK Lyant. Wollstonecraft, Mill, and Women's Human Rights. By Eileen Hunt Botting. Women, Law and John Stuart Mill.
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His "Utilitarianism" of remains the classic defense of the Utilitarian view that we should aim at maximizing the welfare or happiness of all sentient creatures. However, he was keen to develop Utilitarianism into a more humanitarian doctrine. One of Mill's major contributions to Utilitarianism was his argument for the qualitative separation of pleasures , his insistence that happiness should be assessed not merely by quantity but by quality and, more specifically, that intellectual and moral pleasures are superior to more physical forms of pleasure.
He went so far as to say that he would rather be a dissatisfied human being than a satisfied pig. He also turned away from Bentham 's external standard of goodness to something more subjective , arguing that altruism was as important as self-interest in deciding what ought to be done. However, it was Mill's essay "On Liberty" of that aroused the greatest controversy and the most violent expressions of approval and disapproval. It addressed the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual , and he laid down his "one very simple principle" governing the use of coercion in society whether it be by legal penalties or by the operation of public opinion , arguing that we may only coerce others in self-defense : either to defend ourselves , or to defend others from harm the so-called "harm principle".
Thus, if an action is self-regarding i. Man is therefore free to do anything unless he harms others, he argued, and individuals are rational enough to make decisions about what is good and also to choose any religion they want. Although the origins of Phenomenalism can be traced back to George Berkeley , it was only after Mill that a commitment to the doctrine became standard among scientific philosophers, until superseded by Physicalism in the s.
Mill argued that if freedom is good for men, then it is for women too, and that every argument against this view drawn from the supposedly different "nature" of men and women is based on mere superstitious special pleading. If women do have different natures, the only way to discover what they are is by experiment , and that requires that women should have access to everything to which men have access. He felt that the oppression of women was one of the few remaining relics from ancient times , a set of prejudices that severely impeded the progress of humanity.
Likewise, he chose not to have his "Three Essays on Religion" published until after his death, although they remain models of calm discussion of contentious topics, and actually disappointed those of Mill's admirers who had looked for a tougher and more abrasive Agnosticism. In general the essays criticized traditional religious views and formulated an alternative inspired by Comte in the guise of a "Religion of Humanity".
Mill argued that belief in an omnipotent and benevolent God, encouraged intellectual laziness. Among other points, though, he argued that, although it is impossible that the universe is governed by an omnipotent and loving God , it is not unlikely that a less omnipotent benign force is at work in the world. See the additional sources and recommended reading list below, or check the philosophy books page for a full list. A huge subject broken down into manageable chunks. Random Quote of the Day:.