In Utilitarianism, how does Mill address the problem of justice in chapter 5?

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Mill defines justice as something distinct from general morality by arguing that justice consists of duties in which a corresponding right resides in some person or persons. Moral obligations, in contrast, are duties "which do not give birth to any right."

Justice, to Mill, implies some obligation that someone else...

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Mill defines justice as something distinct from general morality by arguing that justice consists of duties in which a corresponding right resides in some person or persons. Moral obligations, in contrast, are duties "which do not give birth to any right."

Justice, to Mill, implies some obligation that someone else can demand from us. Mill argues that because of superior intelligence, man can have regard for his fellow man, whether it be his whole tribe, his community, or his nation, and wish to see justice done against those that harm it. The sentiment of justice, therefore, includes an element that wishes to punish to recompense those injuries inflicted on us by our enemies.

Mill thus denotes Justice as both a "rule of conduct" common to humanity and conducive to its good and a "sentiment" that those who infringe the rules of conduct—either against oneself, one's tribe, one's nation, or humanity at large—should be punished for violation of the rules of conduct to protect humanity, the nation, or the tribe.

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In Chapter 5, Mill deals with a criticism of utilitarianism, which is that it has no link with the concept of justice. In order to debunk this claim, he goes through the rather challenging process of trying to define what justice is and how it can be linked to utilitarianism. After going through a series of different examples of justice, he finally develops a theory that helps show the link between utilitarianism and justice. Mill argues that there are perfect and imperfect obligations. Imperfect obligations are defined by him as being things that no person has the right to insist on having from another, and perfect obligations are those things that everybody has the right to demand from another. Justice finds a clear link with Mill's concept of perfect obligation, as if a person's pesonal rights have been impinged, they have a moral basis for seeking redress. Note how Mill defines a right in this chapter:

When we call anything a person's right, we mean that he has a valid claim on society to protect him in the possession of it, either by the force of law, or by that of education and opinion.

Mill therefore argues for the coexistence of rights and utilitarian philosophy, which distinguishes him from other utilitarians, who would actually argue that any notion of "rights" is incompatible within a utilitarian framework. Mill therefore in this chapter upholds the concept of justice within his philosophy through defending the notion of human rights.

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