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Photogravure, 19th Century Introduction John Stuart Mill - was an English philosopher, political economist and Member of Parliament of the early Modern period. But he is best known for his further development of the Utilitarian theory of his teacher, Jeremy Benthamwhich he popularized as a movement and of which he became the best known exponent and apologist.
He was instrumental in the development of progressive political doctrines such as SocialismLibertarianism and Feminismand he was active in calling for political and social reforms such as the abolition of the slave trade, universal suffrage, labor unions and farm cooperatives.
He was perhaps the most influential English-speaking philosopher and liberal thinker of the 19th Century, and he made important contributions to British thought, especially in Ethics and Political Philosophy. Life John Stuart Mill was born on 20 May in the Pentonville area of north-central London, the eldest of nine children of the Scottish philosopher and historian James Mill - His mother was Harriet Barrow, but she seems to have had very little influence upon him.
He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing and education by his father, with the advice and assistance of the English social reformers Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place -and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings.
His father was an almost fanatical follower of Bentham and Associationism the idea that mental processes operate by the association of one state with its successor statesand wanted to deliberately groom John as an intellectual genius who would carry on the cause of Utilitarianism after he and Bentham were dead.
Mill was anyway a notably precocious child, learning Greek at the age of three. At the age of eight he began learning Latin, algebra and Euclid and to teach the younger children of the family. By the age of ten he could read Plato and Demosthenes, and was familiar with all the Latin and Greek authors commonly read in the schools and universities at the time, such as Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Tacitus, Homer, Dionysus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and Thucydides.
In his "spare time", he enjoyed reading about natural sciences and some popular novels such as "Don Quixote" and "Robinson Crusoe". In the following year he was introduced to political economy and studied the works of Adam Smith and David Ricardo a close friend of his father, who would often discuss economics with the young Mill.
Inat the age of 17, Mill chose rather than take Anglican orders from the "white devil" in order to study at Oxford University or Cambridge University to follow his father to work for the British East India Company. This depression eventually began to dissipate, however, with Mill taking solace in the Romantic poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Goethe.
He was also introduced around this time to the Positivism of Auguste Comtewhich had a strong influence on his future thinking. InMill co-founded the Radical journal, the "London Review" with Sir William Molesworth and then, two years later, purchased the "Westminster Review" and merged the two journals, using it to support politicians who were advocating further reform of the House of Commons.
InMill married Harriet Taylor on the death of her husband after over twenty years of intimate friendship. After only seven years of marriage, though, she died on a trip to Avignon in the south of France in after developing severe lung congestion.
Mill took a house in Avignon in order to be near her grave and thereafter divided his time between there and London. During his time as an MP, Mill became the first person in Parliament to call for women to be given the right to vote, and advocated easing the burdens on Ireland, as well as working indefatigably for such political and social reforms as proportional representation, labor unions and farm cooperatives.
Mill died on 8 May in Avignon, and was buried alongside his wife. Work Back to Top Throughout his life, Mill tried to persuade the British public of the necessity of a scientific approach to understanding social, political and economic change while not neglecting the insights of poets and other imaginative writers.
Philosophically, he was a radical empiricist who held that all human knowledge, including even mathematics and Logicis derived by generalization from sensory experience. He believed firmly that there is no such thing as innate ideas, no such thing as moral precepts. His "System of Logic" of was an ambitious attempt to give an account not only of Logicas the title suggests, but of the methods of science and their applicability to social as well as purely natural phenomena.
This led him to an analysis of causation and ultimately to an account of inductive reasoning that remains the starting point of most modern discussions on Logic. The "System of Logic" also attacked the Intuitionist philosophy the belief that explanations rested on intuitively compelling principles rather than on general causal laws of William Whewell - and Sir William Hamilton -which he saw as "bad philosophy".
His "Principles of Political Economy" of tried to show that economics was not the "dismal science" that Thomas Carlyle - and its radical and literary critics had supposed, and it became one of the most widely read of all books on economics in the period, and dominated economics teaching for decades.
He helped develop the ideas of economies of scale, opportunity cost and comparative advantage in trade.
But in the "Principles", Mill also made the radical arguments that we should sacrifice economic growth for the sake of the environment, and should limit population as much to give ourselves breathing space as in order to fend off the risk of starvation for the overburdened poor, and advocated his own ideal of an economy of worker-owned cooperatives.
His "Utilitarianism" of remains the classic defense of the Utilitarian view that we should aim at maximizing the welfare or happiness of all sentient creatures. However, he was keen to develop Utilitarianism into a more humanitarian doctrine.
He went so far as to say that he would rather be a dissatisfied human being than a satisfied pig. It addressed the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual, and he laid down his "one very simple principle" governing the use of coercion in society whether it be by legal penalties or by the operation of public opinionarguing that we may only coerce others in self-defense: Thus, if an action is self-regarding i.
Man is therefore free to do anything unless he harms others, he argued, and individuals are rational enough to make decisions about what is good and also to choose any religion they want.
Although the origins of Phenomenalism can be traced back to George Berkeleyit was only after Mill that a commitment to the doctrine became standard among scientific philosophers, until superseded by Physicalism in the s.
Mill argued that if freedom is good for men, then it is for women too, and that every argument against this view drawn from the supposedly different "nature" of men and women is based on mere superstitious special pleading. If women do have different natures, the only way to discover what they are is by experiment, and that requires that women should have access to everything to which men have access.
He felt that the oppression of women was one of the few remaining relics from ancient times, a set of prejudices that severely impeded the progress of humanity. In general the essays criticized traditional religious views and formulated an alternative inspired by Comte in the guise of a "Religion of Humanity".
Mill argued that belief in an omnipotent and benevolent God, encouraged intellectual laziness.The Movement Of Womens Rights - In this first unit, one of the readings that really caught my attention was John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women.
In his essay, Mill’s presents a very compelling argument that the subordination of one sex to another is wrong and that there should be instead, perfect equality amongst the sexes. There is clearly a difference between books that happen to have been written by women, and a "female literature," as Lewes tried to define it, which purposefully and collectively concerns itself with the articulation of women's experience, and which guides itself .
More Essay Examples on Gender Rubric. It was in the mids when the first signs of the feminist movement came about. In , a man named John Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women, which was said to have spawned the ideology of the Women’s Rights Movement (Ryan 11).
In , a man named John Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women, which was said to have spawned the ideology of the Women’s Rights Movement (Ryan, ).
He discussed the role of women in society during that time. In , a man named John Stuart Mill wrote The Subjection of Women, which was said to have spawned the ideology of the Women's Rights Movement (Ryan 11) 2 / .
The Ethical movement, also referred to as the Ethical Culture movement, Ethical Humanism or simply Ethical Culture, is an ethical, educational, and religious movement that is usually traced back to Felix Adler (–).