Examination of Mills and Dworkin

Topics: John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Freedom of speech Pages: 2 (423 words) Published: May 3, 2006
Examination of Mill and Dworkin
Looking at the legal status of drugs, and one's own liberty for that matter, I examined the works of Mills and Dworkin. There are many different views, and in the end, as in all philosophical issues, there is no one answer. It then boils down to which one, if either, of these two different points of view is correct. Each of the works is presented in the book Contemporary Moral Problems by James White. After careful examination of both views, I will discuss each and decide if Dworkin's criticism of Mill's is correct.

To begin this essay one needs to understand the Harm Principle. The Harm Principle states that in order for one to be coerced they have to be inflicting harm on someone else. Mills is careful to say that harming someone else, by harming oneself does not count. Furthermore, Mills mentions that there are two types of persons that should not be included in the Harm: children and those adults who are unable to care for themselves (low mental capacities, low IQ). Although, the Harm Principle does allow for the use of persuasion, reason and sometimes threats. So how does the Harm Principle apply to life? In class we used safety belts as an example. By not wearing a safety belt, one is only harming themselves and therefore should not be punished when they do not wear one. In regards to this essay the obvious example is drug use. Why have drugs be illegal if they do not harm anyone but the user? That is what we are about to examine.

Mill's argues for the Harm Principle based on liberty. He says that liberty must be protected and that is why we must follow the Harm Principle. He argues for the Harm Principle based on freedom of speech. Basically, what I got out of it, he says that no matter how badly the speech may seem immoral, it should be allowed regardless. It might help to add that we learned that Mills is a libertarian. Overall, Mills thinks that the government should not coerce people in to not...
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