The harm principle and the greatest happiness principle: the missing link

Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 55 (129):99-110 (2014)
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Abstract

Neste artigo, apresento uma solução possível para o clássico problema da aparente incompatibilidade entre o Princípio da Maior Felicidade de John Stuart Mill e seu Princípio da Liberdade, argumentando que na esfera "concernente aos outros" os julgamentos de experiência e o conhecimento acumulado através da história têm força moral e legal, enquanto na esfera "autoconcernente" os julgamentos dos experientes têm apenas valor prudencial, e a razão para isto é a ideia que cada um de nós é um juiz, melhor do que qualquer outra pessoa, para decidir o que nos causa dor e que tipo de prazer preferimos (o assim chamado argumento epistemológico). Considerando que o Princípio da Maior Felicidade não é nada mais do que o agregado da felicidade de cada pessoa, levando em consideração o argumento epistemológico concluiríamos que, deixando as pessoas livres até mesmo para causar dano a elas mesmas, ainda estaríamos maximizando a felicidade, e então ambos os princípios (O Princípio da Maior Felicidade e o Princípio da Liberdade) poderiam ser compatíveis. In this article I present a possible solution for the classic problem of the apparent incompatibility between Mill's Greatest Happiness Principle and his Principle of Liberty arguing that in the other-regarding sphere the judgments of experience and knowledge accumulated through history have moral and legal force, whilst in the self-regarding sphere the judgments of the experienced people only have prudential value and the reason for this is the idea according to which each of us is a better judge than anyone else to decide what causes us pain and which kind of pleasure we prefer (the so-called epistemological argument). Considering that the Greatest Happiness Principle is nothing but the aggregate of each person's happiness, given the epistemological claim we conclude that, by leaving people free even to cause harm to themselves, we still would be maximizing happiness, so both principles (the Greatest Happiness Principle and the Principle of Liberty) could be compatible

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The moral limits of the criminal law.Joel Feinberg - 1984 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Forms and limits of utilitarianism.David Lyons - 1965 - Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Autonomy, slavery, and mill's critique of paternalism.Alan E. Fuchs - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):231-251.

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