Waysthrough which John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx seem to have beeninfluenced by Aristotle
StuartMill, Karl Marx and Aristotle are earliest philosophers who expressedtheir views on individual amelioration of self-improvement andempowerment as true source of freedom. Their attitudes andphilosophies have been influential as they have been able toestablish an appreciable level of worthiness that is concerned withtheir ability to fulfil certain personal standards. Most of the ideasfrom these three personalities are closely related, though they tendto differ to some extent. The current paper evaluates the waysthrough which John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx seemed to be influencedby Aristotle, and how the two, Mill and Marx compares and contrastswith Aristotle in their concepts.
ForMill, the idea about human flourishing underlies all the values andto a larger extent, justifies individual freedom. He believed thatthe human liberty is the foundation for contemporary libertarianthought. In this, he defended freedom of thought and conscience. Withregard to Liberty, Mill states that in order for humans to flourish,they need to make individual choices. He notes that moral and mentalpowers are like muscular powers that are improved through constantuse. Mill argues people are supposed to be indoctrinated withversion of the utilitarian morality by loving their neighbors as theylove themselves (Robert34).
Onthe other hand, Marx, in his egalitarian concept, suggests forequality among people. This doctrine is based on the belief that allpeople are equal, both in moral status and fundamental worth. Just asMill, who argues biblically of a person loving the neighbor as one`sself, Marx basis his concept on the Christian notion that all humansouls are loved by God equally. The egalitarian doctrine is,therefore, considered as protean when it expresses about variouskinds of equality hat might be desirable. Mill, on the other hand,calls for social laws and arrangements to enhance enjoining ofutility in guest for happiness. Mill emphasized the role choicesthat individual make. On the other hand, egalitarian thought by Marxadvocated the implementable rules that act as proxies for moralprinciples that are ultimate norms that guide in decision making(Marx and David 78).
Accordingto Mill, human beings are supposed to be free of forming andexpressing their opinions free of any reservation. While actions are required to be free as opinions, the opinions canalso lose their immunity when they are expressed in certaincircumstances that constitute expression of positive instigation tosome mischievous acts. Liberty of a person should, therefore, belimited where a person disturbs others. If one does not molest otherpeople and act based on their judgment of things that concernhim/herself, then they should be given an opportunity to beaccountable for the opinions they have (Mill56).
Millargues that man is not infallible in that the truths are mostlyhalf-truths, and that opinion and its unity are applicable to modesof action by people not less than their opinions. In this case, whilehumans are imperfect, the experiments of living should be differentand free scope should be allowed to various characters and should befree of injuring others. In maintaining the principle of liberty, thegreatest obstacle never depends on the appreciation towards anacknowledged edge rather, it is the general indifference of personsthat ends itself. Any person who lets his own beliefs guide him doesnot require any other faculty less than ape-like imitation. Choosinga plan for one’s self involves application of all the faculties,like observation to see, judgment and reasoning to foresee, activityto enhance gathering materials to make a decision, and self-controland firmness of holding on to a deliberate decision(Mill 57).
Thisconcept by mill can be related to Marx`s argument of equality ofopportunity. Marx believes that the equality relates to rising of thecompetitive market economies where options to access opportunitiesare supposed to be open for all applicants. The assessment ofapplications should be based on relevant merit criteria. This enablesthe people who have morally innocent purposes for the enterprise beselected. This implies that in enhancing competitiveness, criteriaare supposed to be related to profitability(Mill 59).
Inhis concept of political and economic thoughts, Marx advocates theelimination of inequalities associated with capitalistic marketeconomy and institutions. Marx eschews explicit normative theory onmoral principles and regards assertions on principles. In hiscritique of Gotha Program, Marx argues that the division of goods ina society based on contribution of labor defines defective equalityright. This is because some individuals are able, naturally thanothers, making a contribution based on one`s labor varies beyond thepower and control of a person. Therefore, there is a need to discardsuch norms in communist societies to enable the society move beyondthe bourgeois rights` sphere and operate based on needs of the person(Marx and Engels, 13).
Similarly,Mill believes that wearing down into the uniformity cannot make anindividual can be himself, rather, it is through cultivating it,especially based on the limits that other people’s interestsimpose. This makes men become beautiful and noble since activitiespartake the characters of people doing them, furnishing and rich toelevate feelings and strengthen ties that make life more meaningful.While Mill believes that the liberty entails prevention ofindividuals from personal gratification and gives a fair play to thenature, Marx asserts that an individual should discard norms withinthe communist`s perspective and advocate for equal right. He believesthat the moral right ought to enforce. However, in case there is aneed to implement the higher phase distribution, the implementationcan be done successfully without legal or informal coercion (Mill60).
ForAristotle, his principle idea is not on individual liberty as arguedby Mill, but rather, flourishing within the community (Granada 91). While Mill argues that a person is not free to do as he wish,Aristotle is too simple in arguing that individual has the freedom ofpursuing good as he/she desires, and this is similar to Marxargument. In his repudiation of subjective preference, Aristotleargued in favor of eudaimoniaratherthan freedom as expressed by Marx. This translates to happinessconveyed as flourishing. Aristotle believes that the individualchoice is secondary, at its best, to the communal modusVivendicommitted to specific norms related to human flourishing for allpeople. This compares directly to the Marx’s idea on equality inopportunities for all people based on one’s needs.
Thetwo, Marx and Aristotle, holds thatindividual choice is secondary as the fundamental components must becommitted to enhancing flourishing of all people together.Nevertheless, this is contrary to Mill`s idea that the evil in thesociety is that people rarely recognize individual spontaneitythrough common modes of thinking, as well as note its intrinsic worthto deserve any regard. Marx and Aristotle emphasize the effectivenessof community bonds in constituting the individual identity (Granada92).This exposes the Mill’s ideas on liberal notions of an individualas being free to choose, as long no harm is meant to other people.Mill believes that if people take the VonHumboldt`s ideas on individuality, then there would each mind theirown business and aim at giving their best rather than in thecommunity where they copy each other. In this case, no one would beconcerned about putting his or her lives into conduct of his or herconcerns. It is, therefore, not acceptable to believe people shouldlive like there was nothing was in the world before their existence.On the other hand, Marx and Aristotle believe that no civilizationhas been established and lasted due to the choice of an individual.Rather, the society members are bound by sense of community ofconceiving their identity on the basis of definitions in thecommunity they live (Granada 95).
Mill,in his concept of Liberty, uses Greek ideal of development thatinvolves the self-assertion by pagans and Christian self-denial. Inthis concept, Mill suggests that individuals must voluntarilysacrifice, whenever possible, their selfish concerns in order toenable them obey the moral rules of justice that enhancesdistribution of correlative duties and equal rights for a common good(Mill and Gray 56). He argues that individuals should be compelled toobey the established rules of justice when necessary. He believesthat the compression can prevent the specimen that is strong frominterfering with other people’s rights. This Greek ideal includes,also, the self-assertion element that does not allow an individualexhaust the entire life and well as obediently conduct the putativemoral values. This is clearly shown when he holds the Pericles in hisexemplification of the Greek ideal. He claims that Pericles is shortof virtues Christian self-sacrifice as exemplified by john Knox(Robert34).
Contraryto Mill, Marx argues that the principles which determine that actionsthat are morally acceptable by the State are not directly related towhat individuals do in their private lives. The state actionprinciples may be completely distinct from the principles that helpin the determination of the acceptable individual conduct. This meansthat the two philosophers differ in their view of individualism.While Mill upholds the concept of individualism, Marx opposes it,especially in the context of communism.
Thetwo ideas by Marx and Mill can be compared to Aristotle`s distinctionof the Greek Philosophy between opinion and knowledge. Aristotlebelieved that politics was more than just swaying of the publicopinion, and the public life should be governed through reason tomake it free. Human being is portrayed as rational and social innature, and should, therefore, develop an innate natural rationality.Aristotle believes that an economic and political system that isrigged up around the individual subjective preferences may satisfymost basic good, but it restrains humanity at underdeveloped and mostbasic level that is short of human potentialities (Robert34).
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