Mill and Locke's conception of Freedom

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, January 1996

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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 thinker views man and the freedom he ought to have in political society it is necessary to define freedom or liberty from each philosophers perspective.

In The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke states his belief that all men exist in 'a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and person as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.

' (Locke 4) Locke believes that man exists in a state of nature and thus exists in a state of uncontrollable liberty which has only the law of nature to restrict it, which is reason. (Locke 5) However Locke does state that man does not have the license to destroy himself or any other creature in his possession unless a legitimate purpose requires it. Locke emphasizes the ability and opportunity to own and profit from property as being necessary to be free.

In On Liberty John Stuart Mill defines liberty in relation to three spheres; each successive sphere progressively encompasses and defines more elements relating to...