Morality and Harm

  • Mary Midgley


Is it possible to express the notion of a private moral sphere in a more workable way than that offered by the front-door version, by concentrating it simply on the idea of individual harm and advantage? This is the path that Mill chose, insisting that each individual may only be controlled by society in order to stop him or her doing harm to others. He stated this in rather surprising language drawn from political theory. “In the part [of his conduct] which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign” (Liberty, p.73).


Moral Judgement Communal Aspect Impartial Spectator Blank Slate Decent People 
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© Mary Midgley 1993

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  • Mary Midgley

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