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John Stuart Mill #3

John Stuart Mill #3 - John Stuart Mill Subjugation of Women...

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John Stuart Mill: Subjugation of Women 11-14-06 I. Romanticism & The French Revolution A. It said that emphasizing too much reason is a bad thing. This came in response to the French Revolution and Mill notes on it (p. 10). Mill wants to elevate reason again. 1. Edmund Burke was an Irish member of the English Parliament who said that history is a repository of wisdom. He argues that humans and their institutions are complex, because the complexity of humans means: a. We are unpredictable- We may make great plans for new institutions, but there may be changes we do not anticipate. i. Human reason is too limited to understand and comprehend human action. 2. Institutions do and should change gradually, because the institutions we posses have worked over time. They fit us. a. And so even though institutions allow for some injustice, this is no reason to change them, for a change may bring about injustices greater than what are present. b. Change is okay if it is slow and incremental, but large and quick changes should be avoided. c. Further, a policy of small and slow changes helps people retain their attachments to the institutions they are used to. 3. Many conservatives appreciate a monarchy because people can become attached to that institution; it gives people a feeling of pride and history. It also fosters loyalty. B. By this view, history is a repository of facts. Mill disagrees, saying that history can often be a story of oppression and cruelty (p. 14) 1. History is the history of the powerful over the powerless; it is not something we should want to preserve. 2. The institutions of the past benefited some, but not all. The subordination of peasants, slaves, women, workers...this is the history of the world. The subordination of these people has the same source: power. a. People don't understand the sources of this subordination; they simply accept it because they are born in to the system and they do not think that anything could be different (p. 20) b. People assume that the way things are they way they ought to be. Mill says no.
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