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John Stuart Mill's Views Of Paternalism

1698 words - 7 pages

I will be discussing John Stuart Mill’s views on paternalism. I will argue how I feel about the subject. Then I will try my best to put myself into Mill’s shoes, argue back and try to see if I can understand where he is coming from with his arguments on paternalism. I plan on saying that there should be certain types of laws for different types of paternalistic acts, weak and strong for example. The laws should depend on what goes on when that act occurs and also after that act. I have strong views against Mill on the general way that he explains paternalism, but when I read more into depth Mill really says what I think should really be done.

My view toward paternalism is somewhat different from that of Mill because Mill believes that there should be a law only against someone harming someone else. I believe that this is a start. Let’s say that you have a strong relationship with a person who all of a sudden wants to kill himself or herself. It would be morally wrong not to try to stop that person from killing him or herself, because you are emotionally attached to that person and their death will in turn hurt you so such. That person might have meant the world to you and now that he or she is gone you might start to feel that there is no point in living also and then you pretty much start a change reaction of bringing everyone down around you. Also, I am not saying that this should be the only reason for stepping in if someone is trying to commit suicide, it is just one of many reasons.

Mill would probably go right to the word “morally” and would likely say, “Should we base all our laws on morals”? Then he might say: “if you believe that then, whose morals should we base them on”? All people’s morals are not the same. Everyone does not think alike. Some might think if, that person does not want to live then let him or her be, let him or her do their own thing and get it over with, we do not need people on this earth like that. Some of the others might not care one-way or the other. The last few would agree with me about stopping the person from committing suicide. I feel it would be morally wrong not even try to stop that person from committing suicide. Usually a person that wants to commit suicide is not mentally sane in the way of making a decision to kill him or herself. So, it would not be consented to harm which then it would be morally wrong to not try to stop them, this would be an example of weak paternalism. If a person was suffering in a hospital bed and wanted to pull the plug the it would be consented to harm to oneself and would be morally wrong to stop that person, because you will be causing that person more harm that if they were dead, this is an example of strong paternalism. If Mill explained his weak and strong paternalism better then, I would have agreed with him from the beginning.

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