The harm principle holds that the actions of individuals should only be limited to prevent harm to other individuals. John Stuart Mill articulated this principle in On Liberty, where he argued that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." An equivalent was earlier stated in France's Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 as "Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law."
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Some articles on harm principle:
... Limitations to freedom of speech may follow the "harm principle" or the "offense principle", for example in the case of pornography, or hate speech ... Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member ... probably be an effective way of preventing serious offense (as opposed to injury or harm) to persons other than the actor, and that it is probably a necessary means ...
... In the same essay, Mill further explains the principle as a function of two maxims The second of these maxims has become known as the social authority principle ... However, the second maxim also opens the question of broader definitions of harm, up to and including harm to the society ... The concept of harm is not limited to harm to another individual but can be harm to individuals plurally, without specific definition of those individuals ...
Famous quotes containing the words principle and/or harm:
“No habit or quality is more easily acquired than hypocrisy, nor any thing sooner learned than to deny the sentiments of our hearts and the principle we act from: but the seeds of every passion are innate to us, and nobody comes into the world without them.”
—Bernard Mandeville (16701733)
“There is no truer cause of unhappiness amongst men than, where naturally expecting charity and benevolence, they receive harm and vexation.”
—François Rabelais (14941553)