Who is John Stuart Mill? What is your theory?

Who is John Stuart Mill?

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an influential philosopher, economist, politician, and senior official in the East India Company. A controversial figure in 19th century Britain, he advocated the use of classical economic theory, philosophical thought, and social conscience in political decision-making and legislation. Many of her views, including those on the status of women and slavery, were quite liberal at the time.

Mill combined economics with philosophy. He believed in a moral theory called utilitarianism: that actions that lead to people’s happiness are right and those that lead to suffering are wrong. He is best known for his 1848 work, Principles of Political Economy, which became a leading economic textbook for decades after its publication. Other important books include In freedom, A system of logic, The subjection of women, Y Utilitarianism.

Key takeaways

  • John Stuart Mill (1806-1973) was an influential British philosopher and economist who also served as a Member of Parliament (MP) and worked for the East India Company.
  • A classical liberal economist, Mill was an advocate for individual rights, progressive social policies, and utilitarianism (promoting actions that do “the greatest good for the greatest number”).
  • Mill believed that economic theory and philosophy, along with social conscience, should play a role in politics and shape public policy.
  • Mill’s best known works include Principles of political economy, utilitarianism, on freedom, Y The subjection of the woman.

Early age and education

John Stuart Mill was born in 1806 in London, the eldest son of the British historian, economist and philosopher James Mill. He grew up in a strict home under a firm father and was asked to learn history, Greek, Latin, mathematics, and economic theory at an age too early.

Much of John Stuart Mill’s influential beliefs, thoughts, and works can be attributed to his upbringing and the ideology taught by James Mill. His father met prominent political theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1808, and together they started a political movement that embraced the Philosophical radicalism and utilitarianism, which advocates “the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.” It was during this time that the young Mill was indoctrinated with the economic theory, political thought, and social beliefs that would shape his later work.

Actually, it was exactly this upbringing that gave it its foundation and also caused a mental breakdown and later a mental breakthrough. Mill attributed prolonged periods of depression, sadness, and even suicidal thoughts to his father’s authoritarian nature and the radical system in which he was raised. The mental lapse forced him to re-examine the theories that he had previously accepted as true. Through this self-reflection, he began to make changes to Bentham’s utilitarian ideology to make it more positive, adopting the revised theory as his own belief system.

Mill spent most of his working life at the East India Company – he joined it at 16 and was employed there for 38 years. During 1865-1868, he served as a Member of Parliament (MP), representing the City of Westminster.

Notable achievements

Mill’s ideology

John Stuart Mill is considered one of the most influential British thought leaders in political discourse, including epistemology, economics, ethics, metaphysics, social and political philosophy, and other concentrations.

He used his many articles, essays and books to compare the legal status of women at the time with the legal status of female slaves, to promote radical empiricism based on mathematics, and to pioneer the principle of harm: the idea of that political power should only be exercised over a member of an organization when that power is used to prevent harm to that member.

Although he was a passionate believer in freedom and individual rights, as an economist, Mill was not a constant advocate of a laissez-faire system: he favored taxes and government oversight, such as workplace regulations and limits. to the hours of the workers. His later writings suggest a shift from classical economics belief in the free market and capitalism towards socialism, or at least a mixed economy.

Developing the theories of early economists David Ricardo and Adam Smith, Mills helped develop economic concepts such as opportunity cost, economies of scale, and comparative advantage in trade.

Published works

In order of publication, Mill’s best known works include:

A system of logic (1843), describing the methods of science and how they can be applied to social mechanics.

Principles of political economy (1848), who combines the disciplines of philosophy and economics and argues that population limits and decelerated economic growth would be beneficial to the environment and increase public goods.

In freedom (1859), which addresses the nature and limits of the power that society can legitimately exercise over the individual, introducing the principle of harm and defending freedom of expression.

Utilitarianism (1863), who expounds Bentham’s original philosophy, using it as a foundation of morality, rejecting the idea that it promotes narrow self-interest and arguing that it aims at the betterment of society as a whole.

The subjection of women (1869), who defends women’s suffrage and gender equality.

Three essays on religion (1874), who criticizes traditional religious orthodoxy and advocates a more liberal “religion of humanity” (published posthumously).

Autobiography (1874), which was written the year of his death and published posthumously.

The utilitarian creed, “which accepts utility as the foundation of morality, or the principle of the greatest happiness, holds that actions are correct insofar as they tend to promote happiness, wrong since they tend to produce the opposite of happiness. happiness. By happiness is meant pleasure. ” and the absence of pain; for unhappiness, pain and deprivation of pleasure. “

—John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism

Personal life

The love of Mill’s life was Harriet Hardy Taylor. After two decades of close friendship (when she was another man’s wife), they were married in 1851. An intelligent, liberal thinker and writer in her own right, Taylor inspired much of Mill’s work; he openly acknowledges his influence on The subjection of womenand she may have edited or co-written some of her pieces. Certainly, it helped direct Mill’s attention to progressive ideals that he was passionate about: socialism, women’s rights, individual freedom, and a “utopian” vision of humanity’s improbability.

The bottom line

John Stuart Mill was a politician and philosopher, economist and business executive, who continues to have an enduring interest as a liberal thinker, defender of individual rights and the pursuit of happiness, and an ethical theorist. In essence, Mill believed that economic theory and philosophy were necessary, along with social conscience, in politics to make better decisions for the good of the people. Several of his books, including Principles of political economy, utilitarianism, Y A system of logic led him to become one of the most important, albeit somewhat controversial, public figures in 19th century British politics and economics.


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Mark Holland

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