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John Stuart Mill on State (Polity) - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 357
State/Mill/Höffe: Mill rejects [in his reflections on representative government (1)] two basic views of the nature of politics as one-sided, both the voluntaristic view, which declares the state to be the product of human will for specific purposes, and the historical view, which sees in the community "a kind of organic structure" that "grows out of the nature and life of the people concerned" (1). (MillVsVoluntarism).
Theoretical justification: According to Mill, a theory that is fair to its object must combine both views.
a) In accordance with the voluntaristic view, a community enjoys freedom in shaping its political institutions, but not unlimited freedom.
b) Because three conditions must be taken into account, which now speak in favor of the historicist view:
1) The institutions must be recognized by the people;
2) they must make an active contribution to the preservation of the constitution; (...)
3) they require responsible action on the part of public officials.
Höffe I 358
Parliamentarism/Mill: In his observations on representative government(1), Mill argues in accordance with the title for an elected parliament -on the basis of popular sovereignty- and for a separation of powers with government control. In contrast to the current understanding of representative democracy, however, parliamentary powers are limited. Parliament delegates the task of not only debating ("parleting") laws but also passing them, i.e., the legislative power, to another institution, a committee that is responsible for drafting and passing laws.


1.J.St. Mill Considerations on Representative Government, 1861
2. Ibid., Chap. 1.


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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


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-18
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