Philosophy Discussion Forum Question

Rules of engagement:

  • answer the question (e.g. Mill’s arguments are…  Rousseau lays out two arguments.  The first is… The second is…)
  • to receive full credit for the exercise, you must post a reply and respond to another person’s post
  • do not attack a person’s answer
  • no profanity or bullying
  • your response should be 300-400 words
  • cite your sources systematically (author, section or chapter, page number)
  • the content of your philosophical assessment is essential

Context: John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacques Rousseau discuss the notions of liberty and equality in different ways.

You are required to:

Part 1:

a)       Clearly lay out their arguments about individuality, liberty and/or equality

b)       What points do they agree upon (if applicable)? (be clear about the evidence you have for your claim)

c)       What aspects do they disagree about (if applicable)? (be clear about the evidence you have for your claim)

d)       What is the significance of their articulations to our contemporary society?  Be specific. (connect points logically a + b+ c = d)

Be certain to incorporate the reading material, use your own words and cite your sources systematically.

Part 2: Select one of your peer’s responses and reply to his/her/their post.

Aim: work through the questions using your own process of thinking.  Do not be afraid to explore your thoughts and write them down.  This is about you, not me or anyone else.

Pengcheng Zhang:

John Stuart Mill point “The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it” (Mill, 16). Everyone can achieve their right in life without hurting others. Mill believes freedom can promote the society’s developments. This is an equality for individual.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau point “Man is born free, and yet we see him everywhere in chains” (Rousseau, 205). Human is a social animals and human has higher wisdom. This condition cause human has a lot of connection to each other and they will limit others. The best examples are parents and children, teacher and students. Rousseau still think social contrast is a good way to promote social development. People can make and follow the law. This is people’s responsibility(Rousseau, 215). The law can protect people’s life’s right in the highest form. Rousseau believes the freedom is equal for society.

John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacques Rousseau both agree everyone have freedom from their birth and they can not hurt others’ right. Rousseau think the social contrast can help people achieve their right better. the In contemporary society, all countries have their own law and citizen follow the law. Although different countries have distinct rule of law, the reasonable law still make society and country develop better.

Shannon Changizi :

John Stuart Mill stands firm on the beliefs of utilitarianism. That freedom belongs to everyone and that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness” (Mill, 900). Individuality is important in Mill’s beliefs he believes that individuality, not only helps an individual but it also helps the society and the societies growth as a whole. One important view that ties all of this together is the government’s involvement in society’s growth and pursuit of liberty/happiness. If the government does not respect societies and its individuals within the society right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness it is not free. More specifically that it is “unjust to deprive anyone of his personal liberty, his property, or any other thing that belongs to him by law”(Mill 178). But there is one exception to the government’s involvement, the government can get involved in the pursuit of an individuals happiness if it harms others or society.

Within The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau agrees with Mill that all men should be equal and how the government should play a clear part in the rights of each citizen. Rousseau speaks on the injustice of slavery to display apart of this ideal, “Man is born free, and yet we see him everywhere in chains. (Rousseau, 205).

In today’s contemporary society, our government still holds these values: liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be upheld. However, in recent times we haven’t seen that all throughout society. Our current president along with other members of the government, do not uphold the liberties of minorities. In fact, the police, an organization made for the very purpose of protecting our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness consistently impede them. We have seen this time and time again one example being slavery and the George Floyd case. Rousseau puts it like this “Man is born free, and yet we see him everywhere in chains. (Rousseau, 205). Everyone has a right to the pursuit of liberty and happiness but not everyone achieves it.

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