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John Stuart Mill on Democracy - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 356
Democracy/Mill/Höffe: Mill fears that mere democracy, which he does not qualify in more detail, could lead to a terror of opinion, which he emphatically rejects(1). In contrast to a simple understanding of popular rule, which is reduced to factual majorities, this concept suggests the idea of a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law and the constitution. In every mere democracy, there is the threat of forced domination by society over the individual. In this case, what alone is desirable is not ruled by itself, but by all others, so that, which frightens the highly educated Mill, everyone is ruled by an uneducated mass.
Individualism/Mill: Mill's rejection of any form of coercive domination over the individual merely allows the state to establish a framework within which everyone is free to make their own well-informed decisions.
HöffeVsMill: However, the uncompromising nature of this partisanship for freedom and impartiality contradicts Mill's theory of science and epistemology. Because it accepts contre cæur not only in utilitarianism(2), but also in the writing "On Liberty"(1), and that does not exist at all according to the system of logic: an a priori element. Cf. >A priori/Mill.
In the writing "The Subjection of Women"(3) Mill himself will admit this contradiction. >State/Mill.


1. J.St. Mill. On Liberty, 1859
2. J.St. Mill, Utilitarianism 1861
3. J.St. Mill The Subjection of Women, 1869 (dt. Die Hörigkeit der Frau)

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Brocker I 508
Democracy/learning/skills/personality/Mill: The process of improving human abilities (in cognitive, moral and emotional perspectives) requires individual courage and - as Mill very critically states in On Liberty - is undermined by democracy and majority decisions. Democracy has an inherent tendency towards mediocrity, which restricts freedom.
SchaalVsPateman: Carole Pateman (1) shortens Mill inadmissibly by referring significantly to Mill's On Representative Government and largely ignores the connection between freedom and the holistic training of human abilities that Mill carries out in On Liberty (in reference to Wilhelm von Humboldt).


1. Carole Pateman, Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge 1970, S. 34f

Gary S. Schaal, “Carole Pateman, Participation and Democratic Theory” in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Mill I
John St. Mill
A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, London 1843
German Edition:
Von Namen, aus: A System of Logic, London 1843
In
Eigennamen, Ursula Wolf, Frankfurt/M. 1993

Mill II
J. St. Mill
Utilitarianism: 1st (First) Edition Oxford 1998

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-05-12
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