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Applied ethics and social problemsMoral questions of birth, society and death$
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Tony Fitzpatrick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348609

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348609.001.0001

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(p.96) (p.97) Six Protecting
Applied ethics and social problems

Tony Fitzpatrick

Policy Press

Mill's utilitarian liberalism provides the framework for this chapter. According to Mill, people are entitled to interfere with the actions of individuals for reasons of self-protection only. This chapter examines Mill's harm principle and attempts to apply this to issues of smoking and drug taking. The author issues a cautionary warning about overmedicalising debates about ‘bad habits’ and argues that health and expenditure considerations should not be ignored, especially where harm to others is involved, but there is more to life than its prolongation.

Keywords:   Mill, utilitarian liberalism, harm principle, smoking, drug taking, bad habits

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