How well do you know John Stuart Mill?



9 Questions

What was John Stuart Mill's father's profession?

At what age did John Stuart Mill begin studying Latin, the works of Euclid, and algebra?

What is the Principle of Liberty according to John Stuart Mill?

What did John Stuart Mill believe about social liberty?

What did John Stuart Mill argue about free discourse?

What did John Stuart Mill believe about higher pleasures compared to lower pleasures?

What was John Stuart Mill's early economic philosophy?

What did John Stuart Mill believe about public education?

What did John Stuart Mill believe about the natural world?


Biography of John Stuart Mill

  • John Stuart Mill was an English philosopher, political economist, MP and civil servant.

  • He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham.

  • Mill was educated by his father and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings.

  • He began studying Latin, the works of Euclid, and algebra at the age of eight and was appointed schoolmaster to the younger children of the family.

  • His father's work, The History of British India, was published in 1818; Mill began a thorough study of the scholastic logic, at the same time reading Aristotle's logical treatises in the original language at the age of twelve.

  • In his views on religion, Mill was an agnostic and a sceptic.

  • Mill married Harriet Taylor after 21 years of intimate friendship, and their relationship was close but generally believed to be chaste during the years before her first husband died in 1849.

  • Between the years 1865 and 1868 Mill served as Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews.

  • Mill's career as a colonial administrator at the East India Company spanned from when he was 17 years old in 1823 until 1858.

  • Mill's On Liberty (1859) addresses the nature and limits of the power that can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.

  • Mill states the Principle of Liberty as: "the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection."

  • The question of what counts as a self-regarding action and what actions, whether of omission or commission, constitute harmful actions subject to regulation, continues to exercise interpreters of Mill.John Stuart Mill's Views on Liberty, Utilitarianism, and Social Justice

  • Mill believed that liberty in antiquity was a "contest between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the government."

  • Social liberty for Mill meant putting limits on the ruler's power so that he would not be able to use that power to further his own wishes and thus make decisions that could harm society.

  • Mill's view on liberty is that individuals ought to be free to do as they wished unless they caused harm to others.

  • Mill argued that free discourse is a necessary condition for intellectual and social progress.

  • Mill outlines the benefits of "searching for and discovering the truth" as a way to further knowledge.

  • Mill's argument is generally accepted by many democratic countries, and they have laws at least guided by the harm principle.

  • In On Liberty, Mill thought it was necessary for him to restate the case for press freedom.

  • Mill supported abolishing slavery in the United States and expressed his opposition to slavery in his essay of 1869, The Subjection of Women.

  • Mill's view of history was that right up until his time "the whole of the female" and "the great majority of the male sex" were simply "slaves".

  • The canonical statement of Mill's utilitarianism can be found in his book, Utilitarianism.

  • Mill argues that intellectual and moral pleasures (higher pleasures) are superior to more physical forms of pleasure (lower pleasures).

  • Mill believed that higher pleasures should be seen as preferable to lower pleasures since they have a greater quality in virtue.Summary Title: John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism and Economic Philosophy

  • Mill's argument is that "simple pleasures" tend to be preferred by people who have no experience with high art, and are therefore not in a proper position to judge.

  • He believes that people who are noble or practice philosophy benefit society more than those who engage in individualist practices for pleasure, which are lower forms of happiness.

  • Mill argues that it is not the agent's own greatest happiness that matters "but the greatest amount of happiness altogether".

  • Mill defines utilitarianism as "The greatest happiness principle," stating that pleasure and no pain are the only inherently good things in the world.

  • Mill defends the idea of a "strong utilitarian conscience (i.e. a strong feeling of obligation to the general happiness)".

  • Mill believed that for the majority of people, happiness is best achieved en passant, rather than striving for it directly.

  • Mill's early economic philosophy was one of free markets, but he accepted interventions in the economy if there were sufficient utilitarian grounds.

  • Later, he altered his views toward a more socialist bent, adding chapters to his Principles of Political Economy in defence of a socialist outlook.

  • Mill recognized the paramount importance of public education in avoiding the tyranny of the majority by ensuring that all voters and political participants were fully developed individuals.

  • Mill believed that all individuals must start on equal terms, with division of the instruments of production fairly among all members of society.

  • He believed that the most important authoritative function of the government is taxation, and taxation judiciously implemented could promote equality.

  • Mill recognized the value of the natural world and argued that the logical conclusion of unlimited growth was destruction of the environment and a reduced quality of life.


Test your knowledge on the life and philosophy of John Stuart Mill with our quiz! From his early education to his views on liberty, utilitarianism, and social justice, this quiz will challenge you to recall key details and concepts. Learn about Mill's belief in the importance of public education, his evolving economic philosophy, and his advocacy for the natural world. Whether you're a philosophy enthusiast or just curious about one of the most important thinkers of the 19th century, this quiz is sure to be

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