Mill Locke on Liberty

Topics: Property, Liberty, John Locke Pages: 3 (1088 words) Published: June 22, 2007
Through out history, many philosophers have discussed the rights of mankind such as existence, liberty and especially property. In the work “The Second Treatise of Civil Government” written by John Locke, mankind’s natural rights are critically examined one by one. This essay aims to discuss whether John Stuart Mill’s harm principle that he mentions in “On Liberty” can be exercised while not violating the natural rights of mankind or not. First of all, in order to find out the consistency of Mill’s harm principle with Locke’s natural rights, briefly one should examine Locke’s definitions of state of nature and state of war. For Locke, when men live together reasonably and have right to judge each other, without a common authority such as a government it is called state of nature. For Locke, state of nature is a reasonable state that mankind live peacefully. And when men use force, or assert a design of force over other men and threat their lives, where also no common authority is present it is called state of war. Apart from the state of nature, in the state of war, Locke says that “every man hath a right to punish the offender, and be executioner of the law of nature” which drags men into continuous and endless wars and quarrels. Consequently, because of living in state of war, men could not make use of their natural rights such as right of existence, liberty, property, health, and punishment and judgment. One may instantly, without giving you a chance of defend, kill you, take away your freedom, seize you property and can do many other evil and unlawful actions. In order to prevent the brutal outcomes of state of war, Locke highlights the need of common legislative authority over the members of the community which will lead men to state of society where possessing natural rights would have a meaning and use. From these points, with a general survey, one can establish relations with Mill’s...
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