John Stuart Mill's Essay On Liberty - Serendipity
John Stuart Mill's Essay On Liberty - 123HelpMe
Mill is inconsistent in his essay (a point you could make in part b where you should evaluate rathe than just explain and analyse as you do in part a answers) as he begins by taking Bentham’s definition ‘happiness is pleasure and the absence of pain’ and then takes a very different view half way through his essay – see my handout on the site where I explain this subtle shift in emphasis.
John Stuart Mill On Liberty - John Stuart Mill's Essay On Liberty
The traditional criticism of Mill's enterprise in On Liberty really has two prongs: (1) On the one hand, how can Mill possibly hope to defend what he calls "one very simple principle" of giving liberty a privileged place among political values by invoking considerations of utility alone? Several of the critics discussed in J.C. Rees's classic study of Mill and his Early Critics (1956) highlight the incongruity in Mill's libertarian enterprise of defending this utilitarian principle "as entitled to govern absolutely" restrictions of liberty by society or state. However, as an avowed utilitarian, Mill is already committed to utility as yielding an absolute principle for determining the limits of state interference. (2) On the other hand, Mill's critics insist that, even supposing a successful utilitarian proof for liberty's priority over other political goods, its validity would hinge entirely on the accuracy of our conjectures about the effects on man and society of a regime of liberty. Such a utilitarian argument for liberty, in other words, is permanently defeasible and reversible. It yields antilibertarian results whenever particular predictions of the utility of liberty (or the picture of human nature on which such predictions depend) can be undermined by empirical investigation and argument.