Nineteenth century British philosopher and economist
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  • John Stuart Mill

    John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 - 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist, feminist, and civil servant. He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory and political economy. He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century". Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control.


    John Stuart Mill, by Christopher Macleod, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 25 Aug 2016
    Major sections: Life - Mill's Naturalism - Mill's Theoretical Philosophy - Mill's Practical Philosophy - Bibliography
    "John Stuart Mill (1806–73) was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook. In doing so, he sought to combine the best of eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinking with newly emerging currents of nineteenth-century Romantic and historical philosophy."
    John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
    Includes picture and list of selected works with links to those hosted by the Library of Economics and Liberty
    "The eldest son of economist James Mill, John Stuart Mill was educated according to the rigorous expectations of his Benthamite father. He was taught Greek at age three and Latin at age eight. ... After recovering from a nervous breakdown, he departed from his Benthamite teachings to shape his own view of political economy. In Principles of Political Economy, which became the leading economics textbook for forty years after it was written, Mill elaborated on the ideas of David Ricardo and Adam Smith."
    John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), by Colin Heydt, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Partial contents: Biography - Works: A System of Logic - Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy - Utilitarianism - On Liberty - The Subjection of Women and Other Social and Political Writings - Principles of Political Economy - Essays on Religion
    "John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) profoundly influenced the shape of nineteenth century British thought and political discourse. His substantial corpus of works includes texts in logic, epistemology, economics, social and political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, religion, and current affairs. Among his most well-known and significant are A System of Logic, Principles of Political Economy, On Liberty, Utilitarianism, The Subjection of Women, Three Essays on Religion, and his Autobiography."


    John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873), by Thomas Mautner (Editor), The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy
    "During his lifetime, it was his essay On Liberty 1859 that aroused the greatest controversy, and the most violent expressions of approval and disapproval. The essay was sparked by the feeling that Mill and his wife, Harriet Taylor, constantly expressed in their letters to one another: that they lived in a society where bold and adventurous individuals were becoming all too rare."

    Web Pages

    John Stuart Mill - Online Library of Liberty
    Includes portrait, short biography, links to essays about Mill, timeline of his life and works, to various versions of his works and to selected quotations
    "John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was the precocious child of the Philosophical Radical and Benthamite James Mill. Taught Greek, Latin, and political economy at an early age, He spent his youth in the company of the Philosophic Radicals, Benthamites and utilitarians who gathered around his father James. J.S. Mill went on to become a journalist, Member of Parliament, and philosopher and is regarded as one of the most significant English classical liberals of the 19th century."


    John Stuart Mill and the Three Dangers to Liberty, by Richard M. Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Jun 2001
    Evaluates John Stuart Mills arguments in his essay "On Liberty", in particular the three forms of tyranny posited by Mill and an element (private property) not emphasized by his analysis
    "... it would be an unjustifiable violation of another's personal freedom to coercively attempt to prevent him from ingesting some substance that he — however wrong-headedly from the critic's perspective — finds desirable, useful, or pleasurable. But Mill, unfortunately, conceded to the government as necessary responsibilities far more powers of intervention into social and economic affairs than most modern classical liberals and libertarians consider justifiable."
    John Stuart Mill - Hero of the Day, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Includes excerpts from Mill's Autobiography
    "John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), author of On Liberty and Principles of Political Economy, received quite a strenuous education from his father, James, whose Benthamite utilitarianism he adopted as his own. In addition to his economic and political thinking, Mill is credited with formulating (in his System of Logic [1848]) five guiding principles of induction—the method of agreement, the method of difference, the joint method of agreement and difference, the method of residues, and the method of concomitant variations."
    The Sphere of Government: Nineteenth Century Theories: 1. John Stuart Mill, by Henry Hazlitt, The Freeman, Jan 1980
    Critiques Mill's ideas on what are the "necessary" and "optional" functions of government
    "When one recalls that Mill was brought up in the laissez-faire tradition, some of his conclusions may seem surprising. ... Mill ends by granting most of the contentions of the present-day statists. As he keeps adding to his list of 'exceptions' to the general rule of laissez-faire, he gradually seems to forget all his earlier warnings against piling an unmanageable number of functions on the state and building excessive powers that can more easily be abused."
    Herbert Spencer as an Anthropologist [PDF], by Robert L. Carneiro, Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1981
    Traces Spencer's contributions to the fields now known as anthropology and sociology and how his concept of cultural evolution was developed
    "John Stuart Mill, the leading English disciple of [Auguste] Comte, took up the argument for a social science in 'The Logic of the Moral Sciences,' Part 6 of his famous book, A System of Logic, concluding that human actions are subject to the laws of causality."
    Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by Edwin George West, The Region, Jun 1994
    Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
    "The laws of production, Mill argued, have the properties of inexorable natural laws whereas the laws of distribution are subject to human invention and institutions. And if the laws of distribution are man-made then existing property relations can be interfered with on the principle of equity. It was in this way that Mill introduced the search for practical means of redistribution as a crucial part of the political economist's task."
    Liberalism, by Friedrich A. Hayek, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History, 1978
    Chapter 9; originally written in 1973 for the Enciclopedia del Novicento; covers both the history of both strands of liberalism as well as a systematic description of the "classical" or "evolutionary" type
    "But John Stuart Mill in his celebrated book On Liberty (1859), directed his criticism chiefly against the tyranny of opinion rather than the actions of government and by his advocacy of distributive justice and a general sympathetic attitude towards socialist aspirations in some of his other works, prepared the gradual transition of a large part of the liberal intellectuals to a moderate socialism."


    Bentham, London and Westminster Review, Aug 1838
    Opens by contrasting Bentham as a Progressive and Coleridge as a Conservative, then proceeds to examine and criticise Bentham philosophical method, and then his theories of life, law, government and utility
    "He was a man both of remarkable endowments for philosophy, and of remarkable deficiencies for it; fitted, beyond almost any man, for drawing from his premises, conclusions not only correct, but sufficiently precise and specific to be practical; but whose general conception of human nature and life furnished him with an unusually slender stock of premises."
    Related Topic: Jeremy Bentham

    Books Authored

    Autobiography, 1873
    Partial contents: I. Childhood and Early Education - II. Moral Influences in Early Youth. My Father's Character and Opinions - III. Last Stage of Education and First of Self-education - IV. Youthful Propagandism. The Westminster Review
    On Liberty, 1859
    Contents: I. Introductory - II. Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion - III. Of Individuality, as One of the Elements of Well-Being - IV. Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual - V. Applications
    Related Topic: Liberty
    Principles of Political Economy, 1848
    Contents: Introduction, by W. J. Ashley - Preface - Preliminary Remarks - I. Production - II. Distribution - III. Exchange - IV. Influence of the Progress of Society on Production and Distribution - V. On the Influence of Government
    Related Topic: Economics

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