AN EXCEPTION TO MILL’S PRINCIPLE

Categories: Paternalism

Early in my DPhil studies, I found that reasons for breaching John Stuart Mill’s principle of liberty fell in to two categories paternalistic and non-paternalistic. Both of these are described and a particular type of argument belonging to the non-paternalistic side is introduced: the future self justification.

The argument, put simply, that as one’s character changes over time and with traumatic events, each change in character constitutes the creation of a fresh identity and therefore, a later self. This argument suggests that your later self is, for the purposes of Mill’s basic premise, another, and therefore denies claims to the act being self regarding. Derek Parfitt and CL Ten feature prominently in this discussion.

You’ll Thank Me For This One Day: An Exception To Mill’s Principle, Graduate/Faculty seminar paper, University of Sussex, 1998.

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