JSMillEthics.pptx - John Stuart Mill Philosophical Ethics...

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John Stuart Mill Philosophical Ethics
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Who is John Mill? 1806-1873 English philosopher, economist, civil servant and moral & political theorist Most influential philosopher of 19th Century Essays and books covered topics like logic, epistemology, economics, social & political philosophy, ethics and religion
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Early Life Educated by his father, James Mill, a historian, philosopher and economist His father was friends with Bentham and together they led the movement of “philosophical radicals”, which pushed for legal and political reform Young intellect due to his father’s disciplinarian teaching style By age 8, knew Greek and Latin By age 10, read all the Greek and Latin classics (Plato, Isocrates, Euclid, etc) By age 17, advanced understanding of economic theory, mathematics, world history, philosophy, psychology and law “I…grew up in the absence of love and in the presence of fear” (J.S. Mill 1969, 33)
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Career 1823: his father got him job at East India Company 1826: Mill experienced a “mental crisis” —> nervous breakdown triggered by depression Poetry of Wordsworth helped ease his depression Caused him to rethink everything he had studied and worked on so far New career path began with challenging the work of Bentham and his father His goal was “to show that there was a Radical philosophy, better and more complete than Bentham’s, while recognizing and incorporating all of Bentham’s which is permanently valuable.” (Collected Works, I.221) Centered his thoughts on positive elements of Bentham’s utilitarianism rather than criticizing 1832 and 1836: Bentham and Mill’s father had passed away, respectively
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