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Lehman College

Department of Philosophy


John Stuart Mill, 5/20/1806 - 5/8/1873

John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher and political economist. He was the son of economist and political reformer James Mill, who, advised by Jeremy Bentham, educated John Stuart Mill in classical languages, social and natural sciences, and political theory from a very early age. Mill’s philosophical views are generally empiricist, associationist, and utilitarian. In ethics, he defended qualitative hedonism, in contrast to Bentham’s quantitative hedonism. Mill worked in commerce and government, not academia, but wrote scholarly studies of political economy, inductive reasoning, and representative government. His best known works are On Liberty, a defense of broad individual liberties; Utilitarianism, a presentation of that moral theory for contemporary educated readers; The Subjection of Women, an analysis of the causes of women’s subjection and a defense of women’s suffrage; Three Essays on Religion, an analysis of the intellectual and social basis of religion; and A System of Logic, wherein he formulated the five principles of inductive reasoning that are known as “Mill's Methods”. Mill lived for many years with Harriet Taylor, who contributed much to his work, and who he married after her first husband died.

Spotlight Quote: "I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized."