John Stuart Mill

Facts about John Mill

John Stuart Mill died at 66 years old
Born: May 20, 1806
Died: May 8, 1873
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: The author of 1859's On Liberty


John Stuart Mill Biography

Philosopher and essayist John Stuart Mill was a key figure in the 19th-century movement known as utilitarianism, and a proponent of the liberal philosophies of Jeremy Bentham.

John Stuart Mill was educated at home by his father, philosopher and economist James Mill, who was a friend and champion of Bentham.

The boy was a prodigy, according to biographer Richard Reeves: “By the age of six, young Mill had written a history of Rome; by seven he was reading Plato in Greek; at eight soaking up Sophocles.”

After a career working in London for the East India Company, John made his fame with the 1843 publication of A System of Logic.

Mill went on to write several important essays and books that championed the liberal idea that actions should be judged by the usefulness of their consequences. Central to Mill’s philosophy was that “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign,” but that political philosophy should be guided by what is good for society as a whole.

An early advocate of woman’s suffrage, John Stuart Mill co-wrote several essays with his friend, lover and eventually wife, Harriet Taylor. His best-known works are On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1867) and The Subjection of Women (1869).


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