John Stuart Mill #1

John Stuart Mill #1 - John Stuart Mill I. John Stuart Mill...

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John Stuart Mill I. John Stuart Mill was the most important English intellectual of the 19 th century, and lived 1806- 1873. A. James Mill, John's father, wanted to create the perfect utilitarian person out of his son. John was heavily educated as a young child, and thoroughly investigated history, science and philosophy. 1. In this way, he had an edge in education over others. He wrote many works that have been widely read and studied. 2. Mill, however, had no friends; he did have brothers and sisters, but stuck to himself. B. At the age of 20 Mill had a mental crisis: Suppose all of the objects in life are realized. ..would this be of great joy and happiness to you? His answer was no. 1. Mill got out of his depression through reading and discovered poetry (Woodsworth). Mill became more than a utilitarian machine; he added a touch of romanticism. 2. He spent most of his life advocating for political reform. He argued against unlimited property rights and stood for worker control over the workplace. He eventually became the dominant intellectual in Europe, with only Marx as his rival. II. On Liberty was his most famous work and people reacted to it immediately. Mill writes as a liberal concerned about liberalism, a Democrat concerned about Democracy. A. Mill's focus in this book is his fear that society has too much influence on an individual. It forces him to conform. (p. 118) 1. Mill sees conformity everywhere; public opinion dictates people's clothes and ideas. 2. People don't ask themselves what they want, they ask themselves what they should want. (p. 107)This is a large part of Mill's critique of contemporary society. B. The questions is, then, why do we have conformity? 1. The rise of Democracy. The whole process of democracy encourages conformity. In previous era,s people only ahd to worry about officers of the state opressing them. a. Now, the state is, at least in part, responsive to the people. The people can express their opinions, leading to the possibility that public opinion could be opressive. b. Society imposes its ideas on the people and ideas that it dislikes or dissaproves of. This danger of public opinion is a new danger; it arrives as society becomes freer. 2. Public opinion is powerful because it is backed by so many people. (p. 62) a. And it does not have to come from a lot of people. It needs only to come from the dominant group or the ascendent class. (p. 48) So while society may not be completely democratic, it was more dmeocratic than it was. b.
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John Stuart Mill #1 - John Stuart Mill I. John Stuart Mill...

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