Harm, Rights, and Liberty: Towards a Non-Normative Reading of Mill's Liberty Principle

Harm, Rights, and Liberty: Towards a Non-Normative Reading of Mill's Liberty Principle Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009) 196–217 JOURNAL OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY brill.nl/jmp © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI 10.1163/174552409X402359 Harm, Rights, and Liberty: Towards a Non-Normative Reading of Mill’s Liberty Principle M.J. Mulnix Department of Philosophy, Salem State College, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 09170, USA mmulnix@salemstate.edu Abstract Many commentators have argued that Mill’s Liberty Principle is most reasonably construed as limiting social interference to cases where an individual’s action either harms or increases the probability of harm to others. Th e convention when it comes to understanding harm seems to be to build into the concept a normative component such that what it means to harm someone is that we have wronged them in some important respect. But such an understanding of harm will vary depending upon which particular moral framework is adopted, and as such, will not achieve the sort of neutrality necessary for the Liberty Principle to be accepted by a liberal society. However, I am unconvinced that we need to appeal to moral concepts in order to fully analyze Mill’s Liberty Principle and the ultimate aim of this article is to sketch an account of how his principle could be non-normatively explicated. Keywords http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Moral Philosophy Brill

Harm, Rights, and Liberty: Towards a Non-Normative Reading of Mill's Liberty Principle

Journal of Moral Philosophy, Volume 6 (2): 196 – Jan 1, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1740-4681
eISSN
1745-5243
D.O.I.
10.1163/174552409X402359
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009) 196–217 JOURNAL OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY brill.nl/jmp © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2009 DOI 10.1163/174552409X402359 Harm, Rights, and Liberty: Towards a Non-Normative Reading of Mill’s Liberty Principle M.J. Mulnix Department of Philosophy, Salem State College, 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA 09170, USA mmulnix@salemstate.edu Abstract Many commentators have argued that Mill’s Liberty Principle is most reasonably construed as limiting social interference to cases where an individual’s action either harms or increases the probability of harm to others. Th e convention when it comes to understanding harm seems to be to build into the concept a normative component such that what it means to harm someone is that we have wronged them in some important respect. But such an understanding of harm will vary depending upon which particular moral framework is adopted, and as such, will not achieve the sort of neutrality necessary for the Liberty Principle to be accepted by a liberal society. However, I am unconvinced that we need to appeal to moral concepts in order to fully analyze Mill’s Liberty Principle and the ultimate aim of this article is to sketch an account of how his principle could be non-normatively explicated. Keywords

Journal

Journal of Moral PhilosophyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: MILL; LIBERTY; UTILITARIANISM; RIGHTS; HARM

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