Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 M - Mill - John Stuart


John Stuart Mill: English philosopher, 1806-1873. Empiricist and liberal philosopher, who wrote on logic, ethics, economy, government and the rights of women.

Mill got a private education by his father, James Mill, that was very radical. He either was a native prodigy or else his father's education had something special, for by the age of 3 or 4 he could do many things - algebra, Greek - most adults haven't achieved, and his IQ was estimated to have been 225 at age 4.

He was the most influential English philosopher of the 19th Century, and his books about government - "Considerations on Representative Government" and "On Liberty" - are still important classics, and should be read by anyone interested in the subjects. They state and defend a liberal position, with some sympathy for emancipatory and socialist ideas.

His views on ethics - "Utilitarianism" - and logic - "System of Logic" now seem outdated and can be faulted, though they are, like all his books, very clearly written: "Mill wrote clear enough to be found out". The same goes for his empiricism, as outlined in his books on logic. He also wrote one of the classics of feminism, "Subjection of Women", and several volumes on political economy.


See: Mill


Broad, Edwards, Mill, Russell, Sidgwick

 Original: Dec 17, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top