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Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151)
John Stuart Mill made important and influential amendments to Bentham's ideas of utilitarianism. Perhaps most influentially, Mill states that there are not only different quantities of happiness but also qualitative differences in happiness. Humans are capable of higher forms of happiness, and therefore utility must be judged by taking into account quantitative amounts as well as qualitative differences in forms of happiness. Mill also drew a distinction between legality and justice; what is just is not always written in law, and what is written in law is not always just. Justice is a higher principle than the law. Mill's ideas have been incorporated into the laws of the United States and many people who live here subscribe to his ideas; the United States has some of the most permissive laws ensuring the freedom of speech of all liberal, free democracies. However, Mill's argument that liberty must never be sacrificed for expediency has been subject to debate in the United States since 9/11/01. In keeping with his views on liberty, Mill held radical views on women for his time; he believed in educational, political (voting), and marital equality for women. Mill believed women are not inferior by nature. Professor Szelényi ends class by going over how he would answer the questions for the first exam with the students.
00:00 - Chapter 1. Higher Happiness
09:52 - Chapter 2. Justice and Legality; Justice and Expediency
19:15 - Chapter 3. "On Liberty": Freedom and Individuality
27:27 - Chapter 4. "The Subjection of Women": Major Themes
32:41 - Chapter 5. Review of First Test Questions
Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses
This course was recorded in Fall 2009.