The Republic

The Abolishment of Gender Roles in On Liberty and The Republic: Mill's Ethic of Choice Transcends Plato's Doctrine of Justice

Although Mill's On Liberty and Plato's The Republic both advocate the abolishment of gender roles, their respective justifications and resulting ideologies differ saliently. The inception of these differences arises from the basic moral premises from which these ideologies are derived; justice is of fundamental importance, but Plato argues that roles are just insofar as they are equal while Mill argues that they are just insofar as they are chosen. Whereas Plato fails to recognize males and females as fundamental equals, Mill's ethic of choice not only establishes this fundamental equality, but also provides a context in which the elimination of gender roles contains the potential for progress. Granted that Mill's argument lacks the formalism which consistently establishes equal roles, it is more compelling in its practicality and responsiveness towards actual human conditions as well as its respect for individuals and society alike.

Plato supports the elimination of gender roles insofar as it is consistent with social equality and conformity; only after individual differences are eradicated can members of a society uniformly strive for the common good. Plato's argument for equal social roles therefore lies...

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