John Stuart Mill

Easton Press John Stuart Mill books

On Liberty - 1991
Writings of John Stuart Mill - Harvard Classics - 1993

Franklin Library John Stuart Mill books

Political Writings of John Stuart Mill - Great Books of the Western World - 1981
Political Writings of John Stuart Mill - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1982

John Stuart Mill biography

John Stuart Mill, born on May 20, 1806, in London, England, was a towering figure in the realms of philosophy, economics, and political thought during the 19th century. His intellectual contributions have left an indelible mark on Western thought and continue to influence debates on liberty, ethics, and social justice. Mill was born into a family deeply entrenched in the intellectual and social milieu of early 19th-century Britain. His father, James Mill, was a philosopher and economist who played a significant role in shaping his son's education and intellectual development. Under his father's tutelage, John Stuart Mill received a rigorous education, delving into classical literature, philosophy, economics, and political theory from a young age. At the age of fourteen, Mill began working for the East India Company, where he gained practical experience in administration and economics. This experience would later inform his writings on political economy and colonialism.

Mill's most influential work, On Liberty, published in 1859, remains a cornerstone of liberal thought. In this seminal essay, he articulates a passionate defense of individual freedom, arguing that society should only intervene in the actions of individuals to prevent harm to others. Mill's advocacy for freedom of speech, thought, and action, even in the face of societal disapproval, continues to resonate with advocates of civil liberties and human rights. Beyond On Liberty, Mill made significant contributions to utilitarianism, a moral philosophy championed by Jeremy Bentham. In his work Utilitarianism (1861), Mill refined and expanded upon Bentham's ideas, proposing a more nuanced understanding of pleasure and advocating for a higher quality of happiness over mere quantity.

In addition to his philosophical and ethical writings, Mill was deeply engaged in political activism. He was an ardent supporter of women's rights and was instrumental in the campaign for women's suffrage. His essay The Subjection of Women (1869), co-written with his wife Harriet Taylor Mill, argued passionately for gender equality and challenged traditional notions of women's subordination.

John Stuart Mill's intellectual legacy extends far beyond his own lifetime. His ideas continue to shape debates on liberalism, ethics, and the role of government in society. By championing individual freedom, rational inquiry, and social reform, Mill remains a towering figure in the history of Western thought, revered for his commitment to advancing human flourishing and societal progress.

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