John stuart mill and the beginnings of utilitarianism

Precursors to the Classical Approach Though the first systematic account of utilitarianism was developed by Jeremy Bentham —the core insight motivating the theory occurred much earlier. Of these, Francis Hutcheson — is explicitly utilitarian when it comes to action choice.

John stuart mill and the beginnings of utilitarianism

John Stuart was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings.

His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationismhad as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham had died. He describes his education in his autobiography. At the age of three he was taught Greek.

At the age of eight, Mill began studying Latinthe works of Euclidand algebraand was appointed schoolmaster to the younger children of the family. His main reading was still history, John stuart mill and the beginnings of utilitarianism he went through all the commonly taught Latin and Greek authors and by the age of ten could read Plato and Demosthenes with ease.

His father also thought that it was important for Mill to study and compose poetry. In his spare time he also enjoyed reading about natural sciences and popular novels, such as Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe.

In the following year he was introduced to political economy and studied Adam Smith and David Ricardo with his father, ultimately completing their classical economic view of factors of production.

The mountain scenery he saw led to a lifelong taste for mountain landscapes. The lively and friendly way of life of the French also left a deep impression on him. There he met many leaders of the Liberal party, as well as other notable Parisians, including Henri Saint-Simon.

Mill went through months of sadness and pondered suicide at twenty years of age. His heart answered "no", and unsurprisingly he lost the happiness of striving towards this objective.

Eventually, the poetry of William Wordsworth showed him that beauty generates compassion for others and stimulates joy. He considered this one of the most pivotal shifts in his thinking. In fact, many of the differences between him and his father stemmed from this expanded source of joy.

Mill had been engaged in a pen-friendship with Auguste Comtethe founder of positivism and sociology, since Mill first contacted Comte in November In On LibertyA Few Words on Non-Interventionand other works, Mill defended British imperialism by arguing that a fundamental distinction existed between civilized and barbarous peoples.

Taylor was married when they met, and their relationship was close but generally believed to be chaste during the years before her first husband died. He cites her influence in his final revision of On Libertywhich was published shortly after her death.

John stuart mill and the beginnings of utilitarianism

Taylor died in after developing severe lung congestionafter only seven years of marriage to Mill. During the same period, —68, he was a Member of Parliament for City and Westminster. During his time as an MPMill advocated easing the burdens on Ireland.

InMill became the first person in the history of Parliament to call for women to be given the right to vote, vigorously defending this position in subsequent debate.

Mill became a strong advocate of such social reforms as labour unions and farm cooperatives. In Considerations on Representative GovernmentMill called for various reforms of Parliament and voting, especially proportional representationthe single transferable voteand the extension of suffrage.

In AprilMill favoured in a Commons debate the retention of capital punishment for such crimes as aggravated murder; he termed its abolition "an effeminacy in the general mind of the country. In his views on religion, Mill was an agnostic.

William Whewell expanded on this in his History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time followed in by The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded Upon their History, presenting induction as the mind superimposing concepts on facts.

Laws were self-evident truths, which could be known without need for empirical verification. However Mill is clear that his concern for liberty does not extend to all individuals and all societies.

He states that "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians". He also argues that individuals should be prevented from doing lasting, serious harm to themselves or their property by the harm principle.

Because no one exists in isolation, harm done to oneself may also harm others, and destroying property deprives the community as well as oneself. Though this principle seems clear, there are a number of complications.

For example, Mill explicitly states that "harms" may include acts of omission as well as acts of commission. Thus, failing to rescue a drowning child counts as a harmful act, as does failing to pay taxesor failing to appear as a witness in court.

From the SparkNotes Blog

All such harmful omissions may be regulated, according to Mill. By contrast, it does not count as harming someone if — without force or fraud — the affected individual consents to assume the risk:A summary of Chapter 2: What Utilitarianism Is (Part 1) in John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism.

Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Utilitarianism and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. John Stuart Mill (–) was the most famous and influential British philosopher of the nineteenth century.

He was one of the last systematic philosophers, making significant contributions in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and social theory. - John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism I remember reading bits of Mill's Utilitarianism during a course of political philosophy and public policy when I was in college (my major almost 20 /5.

John Stuart Mill (—) John Stuart Mill () profoundly influenced the shape of nineteenth century British thought and political discourse. His substantial corpus of works includes texts in logic, epistemology, economics, social and political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, religion, and .

Utilitarianism (book) - Wikipedia

John Stuart Mill John Stuart Mill (–) was a follower of Bentham, and, through most of his life, greatly admired Bentham's work even though he disagreed with some of Bentham's claims — particularly on the nature of ‘happiness.’.

John Stuart Mill (–73) was the most influential English language philosopher of the nineteenth century. He was a naturalist, a utilitarian, and a liberal, whose work explores the consequences of a thoroughgoing empiricist outlook.

Mill, John Stuart: Ethics | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy