Mill vs. Rousseau

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Paige Adams
Philosophy 121
Individual & Society
Dr. Mathis
11/8/2012

Mill vs. Rousseau
Philosophers throughout the ages have had many well thought out and educated ideas and opinions about government and individuals place in society. Some are similar while others are conflicting, but all have a right to be analyzed to see which idea is the best in a situation. A qualifying example is the differences between Mill’s and Rousseau’s beliefs. Although, their ideas do appear to be similar in some ways, there are many distinguishing differences between them. Mill expresses his view of utilitarian in the book Utilitarianism, while Rousseau expresses his view of the Social Contract in the book The Social Contract. Each philosopher had their own idea of how a society is formed and governed. They also have their own opinion on what is an individual’s role in a community. Knowing this, it is most likely safe to assume they have different ideas on how it is justifiable if the federal government should or should not provide relief, in the form of funds to help individuals and local governments clean up and rebuild, to victims of natural disasters such as the recent Hurricane Sandy. Both have strong arguments for how their course of action is better, but it is Rousseau’s Social Contract view that makes the best case. Rousseau’s is best because his idea is the most likely to give aid to the victims in a dangerous situation, and most likely get it to them faster. His idea is also the more realistic scenario out of the two.

Both Mill and Rousseau agree that the “greatest good for the greatest number” is what counts the most in society. They both believe that because humans are rational beings so they will rationally come to realize the full truth about a situation. Both views do have ways of justifying the protection from the government of the people hurt by the natural disaster. However, they both have dissimilar philosophies on how this is obtained. Rousseau’s...
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