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Biography

John Stuart Mill

1806-1873

Born on May 20, 1806, John Stuart Mill was raised in London by his father, James. Deliberately shielding his son from other boys his age, James dedicated himself to John’s education. He believed that this rigid system of intellectual discipline would give young John a sizable upper hand over others his age. The father proved to be a prophet, as, according to Johns own account, he grew up with an advantage of a quarter century over his contemporaries. Around the age of 15, John began to delve into the works of Jeremy Bentham. He described Benthams prinicple of utility as unity to my conception of things. I now had opinions; a creed, a doctrine, a philosophy; in one among the best senses of the word, a religion. Soon afterwards, Mill formed a small Utilitarian Society and was among the few men who adopted his fathers philisophical and political views. Having secured a position under his father in the India Office, Mill did not have to rely on his literary work for his livelihood. He was free to form his own beliefs without worrying about the monetary consequences.

At the age of 21, Mill suffered a mental crisis that was later attributed to the severe physical and mential strain that he had been subjected to from his earliest years. In his autobiography, Mill described himself during this dark period of time as being in a dull state of nerves, with no deligh in virtue or the general good, but also just as little in anything else. After months of despair and gloom, Mill gradually rediscovered his capacity for emotions. He married in 1851 and he began to write articles on a variety of subjects, including politics, economics and philosophy.These article appeared in such magazines as The Westminster Review and The London Review.

Mills first intellectual work was considered to be his System of Logic, Ratioinative and Inductive, which first appeared in 1843. He followed this book with Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy and Principles of Parliamentary Reform. Mills most famous work may be his 1859 treatise, On Liberty. Mill died at Avignon in 1873.

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