John Stuart Mill, a philosopher, economist, and politician, was born on May 20, 1806, in London, England, and passed away on May 8, 1873, in Avignon, France. He emerged as a publisher during the reform period of the 19th century, and his logical and ethical philosophy theories gained attention. Moreover, he was a staunch advocate of utilitarianism and authored several books on economics and philosophy.
Mill’s philosophical views, ethical understanding, and economic thoughts, which continue to be of interest today, are still being discussed and evaluated in many areas. If you want to learn more about Stuart Mill’s life and views, you can check the subheadings in this article on Zatrun.com.
Who is John Stuart Mill?
John Stuart Mill was born in London in 1806. He was the eldest son of the British historian, economist, and philosopher James Mill. Growing up under the shadow of a strict father, Mill had to learn history, Greek, Latin, mathematics, and economics at a young age. His beliefs, thoughts, and influential works are tied to the environment in which he grew up and the ideology his father taught him. In 1808, his father met leading political theorist Jeremy Bentham and initiated a political movement that embraced philosophical radicalism and utilitarianism.
During this period, young Mill was indoctrinated with economic theory, political thought, and social beliefs that would shape his subsequent work. In fact, it was precisely this environment that gave him the foundation, but it also led to a mental breakdown. Mill said that due to his father’s oppressive nature and the radical system in which he was raised, he had long-term depression, sadness, and even thoughts of suicide. This mental breakdown caused him to re-examine the theories he had previously accepted.
Mill began to question himself and make changes to Bentham’s utilitarian ideology to make it more positive. He then adopted this renewed theory as his own philosophical perspective. Mill spent most of his working life at the East India Company, joining the company at the age of 16 and working there for 38 years. From 1865 to 1868, he served as a member of parliament representing the city of Westminster.
Stuart Mill and His Ideology
John Stuart Mill considered one of the most important thinkers in British philosophy. He has written works, articles, and books that have shaped political discussions in epistemology, economics, ethics, metaphysics, social and political philosophy, and other fields.
In his works, Mill compared the legal status of women to that of slaves, promoted radical empiricism as a mathematical function, and championed the harm principle. This principle asserts that political power should only be used when it is necessary to prevent harm to others.
Despite being a passionate believer in freedom and individual rights, John Stuart Mill was not a consistent advocate of the laissez-faire system as an economist. He supported state controls such as taxes and workplace regulations, as well as limiting working hours for laborers. Mill is renowned for his series of famous books in economics, including “Principles of Political Economy,” “On Liberty,” and “Utilitarianism.”