Nietzsche and Mill on Social Liberty Analytical Essay by Righter

Nietzsche and Mill on Social Liberty
An analysis of Friedrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill's views on social freedom.
# 153825 | 2,771 words | 9 sources | MLA | 2014 | US
Published on Feb 17, 2014 in Philosophy (History - 19th Century)

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This paper examines John Stuart Mill's seminal political essay, "On Liberty", as well as three of Nietzsche's most notable texts, "The Gay Science", "Beyond Good and Evil", and "On the Genealogy of Morals". The paper highlights how Mill believes that individual freedom, especially freedom from harm by other people, is a fundamental right of persons within society, while Nietzsche believes that it is the strong minority - the nobles - that create a a successful society. This paper then argues that these two sets of ideals cannot be reconciled.

Nietzsche and Mill on Social Liberty

From the Paper:

"What Mill means by "civil, or social liberty," is the freedom that is and should be afforded to individuals within a society. In order to discuss the topic of social liberty, or the liberty that individuals have or ought to have within society, Mill takes it for granted that individuals possess a free will. Although the subjects that follow in Mill's essay relate to the individual and his rights within what he considers to be a legitimate and just society, Mill's opinions are based on the suppositions that human beings act freely and that no argument is needed to show this to be the case. In his book, The Gay Science, however, Friedrich Nietzsche criticizes the very idea of freedom as it relates to both the individual and to society. For Nietzsche, the human will is anything but free ; it is determined by various drives or instincts that push it in one direction or another. And, for Nietzsche, the idea of social liberty - "freedom" and "rights" for individuals - is pure nonsense culled from a herd mentality; rather, Nietzsche thinks that in society there exists a "herd-instinct" that ultimately determinesthe nature of that society and the actions of the individuals that comprise such a society."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anomaly, Jonny. "Nietzsche's Critique of Utilitarianism." Journal of Nietzsche Studies. No. 29 (Spring 2005), pp. 1-15. Penn State University Press.
  • Brobjer, Thomas H. "Nietzsche's Reading and Private Library, 1885-1889." Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol 58, No. 4 (Oct. 1997), pp. 663-693. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Mara, Gerald M. and Dovi, Suanne L."Mill, Nietzsche, and the Identity of PostmodernLiberalism." The Journal of Politics, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Feb. 1995), pp. 1-23. CambridgeUniversity Press.
  • Mill, John Stuart. Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume X (Essays on Ethics,Religion, and Society). Edited by J.M. Robson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1969.
  • Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. Edited by Michael B. Mathias. New York: Pearson Education. 2007.

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