Philosophy

1. Mill argued that the sole reason for which society is justified in interfering with the liberty of its members is the prevention of harm to others. Devlin has argued that some kinds of behaviour can be prohibited because allowing such behaviour is a harm to society in general. Critically discuss the debate between Mill and Devlin. Who has the stronger views?

Your essay can draw on any material we have read, but Dworkin’s piece, “Liberty and Moralism” is especially relevant. You might also look again at the video on legislating morality that we watched (Legislating Morality: There Oughta Be a Law!)

2. Take one of the cases that raise issues about legislating morality (R. v. Labaye, R v. Malmo-Levine/R. v. Caine or Bowers v. Hardwick). Argue for how you think that the case should be decided drawing on the kinds of considerations raised by Mill, Devlin and Dworkin. You wanted, you could write about the Butler and Little Sister’s case under this topic by taking up the issue of whether the Butler decision really smuggles in a covert appeal to moral standards.

Your paper should consider and respond to objections to your position.

3. Is suppression of hate speech (or obscene material) justifiable in a free society? Critically discuss considering the kinds of issues arguments Mill provides about free speech and the kinds of arguments given in the Keegstra (hate speech) or Butler (obscenity) case.

Look at only one of hate speech or obscene material, though you can draw on considerations from any case we have read in constructing arguments. The Little Sister’s case is especially relevant. Your paper should consider and respond to objections to your view. You might want to look at more of the relevant cases than what we have in our book.

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