John Locke and John Stuart Mill's Definition of Freedom Essay

2029 Words Oct 22nd, 1999 9 Pages
John Locke and John Stuart Mill's Definition of Freedom

John Locke believes that man ought to have more freedom in political society than John Stuart Mill does. John Locke's The Second Treatise of
Government and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty are influential and potent literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinkers ideal state present two divergent visions of the very nature of man and his freedom.
John Locke and John Stuart Mill have different views regarding how much freedom man ought to have in political society because they have different views regarding man's basic potential for inherently good or evil behavior, as well as the ends or purpose of political societies. In order to examine how each
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Mill differs from Locke in the basic principle that individual who enjoy the benefits of living in political societies owe a return for the protection society offers. Mill believes for society to function properly conduct of societies members should "not injuring the interests of one another; or rather certain interests; which either by express legal provision, or by tacit understanding, ought to be considered rights" (Mill 70) Mill furthers this statement by proclaiming that society may go even further. "As soon as any part of a person's conduct affects prejudicial the interests of others, society has jurisdiction over it, and the general question whether the general welfare will or will not be promoted by interfering in it, becomes open to discussion." (Mill 70) This declaration virtually allows the state the authority to intervene in every instance of human interaction and have total power to alter the exchange as it sees fit. If this function of the state is considered supreme or is allowed jurisdiction over even the first sphere of freedoms any further discussion of liberty is ineffective and redundant. Mill clearly seeks to limit the freedom of men and guaranteeing some measure of residual power to exercised by the state at will. Having examined the level or amount of freedom Locke and Mill advocate for man in political society a closer examination of the rational or reasoning which Locke and Mill used to develop their
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