Una lectura reflexiva sobre la educación y el estado en John Stuart Mill
Materias Investigacion::Derecho
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Alzina, José-Pablo. ""Una lectura reflexiva sobre la educación y el estado en John Stuart Mill"". Persona y Derecho, 7 (1980) : 47-157.
John Stuart Mill was a great advocate of individual sovereignty and wished it to have the most complete and free development possible. Nontheless, his philosophy carries sorne elements which deny individuality because it denies man's moral freedom, the capacity of human reason to attain truth, and, decisively, because it provides the basis for the construction of conventional truth which is provisionally definitive and which does not encounter any strength other than a tyrannical imposition upon the individual. These elements serve to fundament the dangers of the tyranny of opinion and of democracy to which Mill was so sensitive. Fortunately, in agreement with common sense and practice, and with certain other elements of his philosophy, Mill elaborated sorne notions concerning education and the State that enabled him to safeguard individuality and to reap better fruits, Variety and Originality, which are indispensable for personal and social development, and apt yardsticks for measuring the degree of sovereignty achieved. Education is gained, above a11, by making things personally and by avoiding that they be done for us by others. This in consequence brings forth the fact that in order to learn to help others and to be interested in the Common Good, political participation is absolutely necessaty. To this we add that according to the well-known principIes of Laissez-faire, the first political principIe consists of letting citizens do as they please. However, Mill -no doubt conscious of the fact that this formal liberty must be real in order for man to be truly sovereign- establishes the obligation of the State in helping citizens all that it can, although no more than necessary, so that they become able to achieve their ends personally. If this aid happens to be insufficient, then social and personal reasons may impel the State to supplement personal activities. This, however, must be done in such a way that this supplementaty action soon becomes unnecessaty. Free initiative, furthermore, is naturally called upon to perform tasks which are of social interest, and the State must stimulate the formation of associations and of participation so that these tasks be performed by individuals. This brings forth, in an efficacious manner, the principIe of Subsidiarity which naturally implies social responsability in any private initiative. Mill's axiom, «The greatest dissemination of power compatible with efficiency» irresistibly evokes the known slogan of Natural Law, «Freedom possible, controlnecessary». This principIe is applied in an almost perfect manner to the rights of the State with regard to education, and given that this is the main recourse in order to safeguard individuality and that the State is a means -and oo1y a mean5- at the service of the individual, the topic of the rights of the State concerning the educational activity seems to be the common ground to which Mill's firmest convictions and dearest thoughts converge.

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