John Locke and John Stuart Mill's Definition of Freedom

2033 words 9 pages
John Locke and John Stuart Mill's Definition of Freedom

John Locke believes that man ought to have more freedom in political society than John Stuart Mill does. John Locke's The Second Treatise of
Government and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty are influential and potent literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinkers ideal state present two divergent visions of the very nature of man and his freedom.
John Locke and John Stuart Mill have different views regarding how much freedom man ought to have in political society because they have different views regarding man's basic potential for inherently good or evil behavior, as well as the ends or purpose of political societies. In order to examine how each
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The importance of this issue lies in the ability of Locke and Mill to legitimize their conclusion about society based on the necessity of accommodating the natural inclinations of man. Tyranny can easily be justified under the guise of protecting the weak from the natural predatory tendencies of stronger men. John Locke is clear and adamant in his declaration that man is naturally inclined toward good. Locke belief in the value of man and his ability to act independently in compliance with natural law contributed more to his views regarding freedom than did his positions regarding the function of the state.
Several positions which Locke holds to be true regarding man warrant this conclusion. First is Locke's definition of the state of nature as "men living together according to reason, without a common superior on earth with authority to judge between them, is properly the state of nature." (Locke 19) Secondly Locke's contention that in the state of nature that man has the right to punish "the crime for restraint and preventing the like offense, which right of punishing is in everybody; the other of taking reparation, which belongs only to the injured party..." (Locke 8) Locke does not halt the rights of men to punish transgressions against them, this right of all men in a state of nature even if it entails


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