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John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was a British philosopher, political economist and civil servant. He was an influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy. He has been called "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century".1] Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control.2 He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. Hoping to remedy the problems found in an inductive approach to science, such as confirmation bias, he clearly set forth the premises of falsification as the key component in the scientific method.[#seop]

Answered Questions

According to Mill, what is the relationship of the individual to the community, particularly in so far as that relationship affects human happiness?

According to Mill, our natural sympathy works to establish a set of social relations that unite individuals into a community.3 Because no-one exists in isolation, harm done to oneself may also harm others, and destroying property deprives the community as well as oneself.2 However, Mill still supported liberty: "The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns him, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."4

Page last modified on September 29, 2012, at 11:16 PM