Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):322-340 (2013)

Piers Norris Turner
Ohio State University
Mill argues that, apart from the principle of utility, his utilitarianism is incompatible with absolutes. Yet in On Liberty he introduces an exceptionless anti-paternalism principle—his liberty principle. In this paper I address ‘the absolutism problem,’ that is, whether Mill's utilitarianism can accommodate an exceptionless principle. Mill's absolute claim is not a mere bit of rhetoric. But the four main solutions to the absolutism problem are also not supported by the relevant texts. I defend a fifth solution—the competence view—that turns on his attention to decision-making structures and, in particular, on the role of expertise considerations in his account.
Keywords Mill  Harm Principle  Liberty
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DOI 10.1080/00455091.2013.847346
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References found in this work BETA

Two Concepts of Rules.John Rawls - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (1):3-32.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
On Liberty.John Stuart Mill - 1859 - Broadview Press.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.

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Citations of this work BETA

John Stuart Mill.Fred Wilson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Social Morality in Mill.Piers Norris Turner - 2017 - In Gerald Gaus & Piers Turner (eds.), Public Reason in Political Philosophy: Classic Sources and Contemporary Commentaries. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 375-400.

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