John stuart mill

biography

John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873) was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and politician who advocated utilitarianism focused on quality, freedom, gender equality, and the pursuit of happiness for the majority of people.

John Stuart Mill was born in London on May 20, 1806. His father was the economist and philosopher James Mill who subjected his son to a rigorous and demanding method of study that included the reading of classics in economics, politics, philosophy and law. at a very early age. Mill son had no free time and his father forced him to give an account of his progress without giving him respite to play with other children or for rest or vacations.

At the age of 14, Mill left to study philosophy, economics and law in France and began to create original works. At the age of 20, he suffered a depressive crisis, probably the result of the excessive demand to which he had been subjected. After several years he manages to recover by opening up to other intellectual sources further away from the ideas his father taught him. In particular he is interested in the ideas of Comte's positivism, socialism and romanticism.

In 1830 he met Herriet Taylor, a philosopher and feminist whom he married 21 years later, when she became widowed. According to Mill himself, Taylor was an important source of intellectual inspiration.

John Stuart Mill worked in the East Indies inspection office until the dissolution of the company in 1858. From 1865 and for three years he was a member of the British Parliament for the Liberal Party. There he vigorously defended measures in favor of the less privileged classes, the equal rights of women and proposed reforms to the electoral system, among other contributions.

Mill died in France on May 8, 1873.

John Stuart Mill's main ideas

Stuart Mill's contribution spans various areas of economics, philosophy, and law. Here we will review in a simplified way its main ideas:

  • Positivism and empiricism: Knowledge is derived from experience so it is necessarily limited (we cannot observe everything, only part of it and draw conclusions).
  • Freedom and the principle of harm: All individuals should be free to take the actions they consider pertinent as long as they do not inflict harm on others.
  • Freedom of expression: The freedom to express and discuss ideas is a necessary condition for social progress. Although we may not like the ideas of others, the debate helps people to recognize the flaws in their ideas, open up to other points of view and reinforce proper reasoning.
  • Democracy with respect for minorities: Societies must create mechanisms to limit the power of rulers who only seek their own benefit. Likewise, minorities must be protected from the tyranny of the majority, where ideas are imposed only by number, but without respect for minority groups.
  • No to slavery: Denied the ideas that supposedly justified slavery (by assuming a genetic and intellectual inferiority).
  • Feminism: The subjugation of women constitutes an obsolete social model based on prejudices and that seriously affects social progress.
  • Public ownership of natural resources: Economic progress should not be at the cost of over-exploitation and possible extinction of natural resources.
  • Utilitarianism: It is the principle of acting in order to achieve the greatest happiness for as many people as possible (within some limits such as respect for minorities). Mill distinguished his concept of utility based on the quality of the feeling of satisfaction (intellectual and moral is superior to the physical) instead of the quantity as had been proposed by previous authors (such as Jeremy Bentham for example).

Contribution to the Economy of John Stuart Mill

Stuart Mill was a representative of the classical school of economics. In 1848 he published "Principles of Political Economy" which would be one of his main works in the field of economics.

Among his analyzes, Mill investigated the process of formation of wages, the value of goods based on their utility and the real exchange ratio. Mill also put forward the idea of ​​a stagnation of capitalism by the progressive reduction of profits and proposed various measures to improve the distribution of income in society.

Major works of John Stuart Mill

The main works of John Stuart Mill are:

1843: A system of logic.

1844: Essays on some disputed questions in political economy.

1848: Principles of political economy: with some of its applications to social philosophy.

1859: On freedom.

1860: Considerations on the representative government.

1863: Utilitarianism.

1865: Examination of the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton.

1869: The submission of women / Female slavery.

1873: Autobiography.

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