|John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)
He received a rigorous education under his father, James Mill and Jeremy Bentham, who were close friends and together had founded Utilitarianism (Mill recognized, in later life, that his father's system had the fault of appealing to the intellect only and that the culture of his practical and emotional life had been neglected, while his physical health was probably undermined by the strenuous labor exacted from him).
The principle of the Utility, he says, understood and applied as it was by Bentham, "gave unity to my conception of things". He formed a small Utilitarian Society, and, for some few years, he was one of "a small knot of young men" who adopted his father's philosophical and political views "with youthful fanaticism". A position under his father in the India Office had secured him against the misfortune of having to depend on literary work for his livelihood; and he found that office-work left him ample leisure for the pursuit of his wider interests.
An important factor in his life was Mrs. Taylor, who co-authored pieces with him. He maintained a close relationship with her for many years while she was married. When her husband died, Mill married her in 1851.
John Stuart Mill's own philosophy, influenced by his wife, developed into a more humanitarian doctrine than that of utilitarianism's founders: he was sympathetic to socialism, and was a strong advocate of women's rights and such political and social reforms as proportional representation, labor unions, and farm cooperatives. In logic he formulated rules for the process of induction, and he stressed the method of Empiricism as the source of all knowledge.
His work in connection with the literary journals was enormous. He wrote articles almost without number and on an endless variety of subjects (philosophical, political, economic, social). They began with "The Westminster Review" and extended to other magazines. They were valuable as enabling us to trace the development of his opinions, the growth of his views in philosophy, and the gradual modification of his radicalism in politics.
His first great intellectual work was his System of Logic, R atiocinative and Inductive, which appeared in 1843. This was followed by his Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy (1844), and Principles of Political Economy (1848). In 1859 appeared his little treatise On Liberty, and his Thoughts on Parliamentary Reform. His Considerations on Representative Government belongs to the year 1860; and in 1863 (after first appearing in magazine form) came his Utilitarianism. In the Parliament of 1865-68, he sat as Radical member for Westminister. He advocated three major things in the House of Commonswomen suffrage, the interests of the laboring classes, and land reform in Ireland.
In 1865, came his Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy; in 1867, his Rectorial Inaugural Address at St. Andrews University, on the value of culture; in 1868, his pamphlet on England and Ireland; and in 1869, his treatise on The Subjection of Women. Also in 1869, his edition of his father's Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind was published. Mill died at Avignon in 1873. After his death were published his Autobiography (1873) and Three Essays on Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, and Theism (1874), written between 1830 and 1870.
|ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so - John Stuart Mill|
|one person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests - John Stuart Mill|