Freiheit, Paternalismus und die Unterwerfung der Frauen

In Thomas Schramme & Michael Schefczyk (eds.), John Stuart Mill: Über Die Freiheit. De Gruyter. pp. 159-180 (2015)
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This chapter discusses (in German) John Stuart Mill's position on paternalism and how it relates to his book 'The Subjection of Women'. It is argued that Mill's claim (in On Liberty) that one should not be allowed to sell oneself into slavery is making reference to the Victorian marriage contract through which women essentially become slaves of their husbands. As argued in Subjection, women do not freely develop the desire to get married, the social circumstances do not leave them any other options. Necessarily unaware of what married life is like, the decision to get married is like crossing an unsafe bridge without knowing it is unsafe. It is not paternalist, as Mill argues, to alert them to the condition of the bridge and put them in the position to decide for themselves whether they want to cross it (or turn back half way, e.g. by divorcing).

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Christoph Schmidt-Petri
London School of Economics (PhD)


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