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Philosophy

John Stuart Mill: the Harm Principle

Mill’s aim

The subject of this essay is . . . the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual . . .

(John Stuart Mill, On liberty , 1859)

An increase in authority (legitimate use of power) necessarily entails a decrease in individuals’ liberty within a given state.  John Stuart Mill, as a liberal, is keen to ensure that the liberty of the individual is only limited when absolutely necessary.