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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: July 2011

9 - John Stuart Mill, mid-Victorian

from II - Modern liberty and its defenders
This chapter discusses John Stuart Mill's attempt to create a logical framework for the science of politics, and so a foundation for the emerging mid-Victorian liberalism. Coleridge was one influence but, on Mill's own account, the chief influence on the central part of his life was a woman, Harriet Taylor. On Liberty has been understood as an extreme promotion of individualism, of the rights of the individual against the state. The energy that Mill wishes to release by liberty brings up another aspect of his thought, and another matter in which he thinks that the thought of his father is limited. The cultivation extolled here would go with civilisation. Thinking of Mill's thought in terms of rules, or generalisations, resolves some of the puzzle about how Mill, basing his argument on utilitarianism, nevertheless argues against paternalism. Mill was also an important figure in the development of English feminist thought.
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The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought
  • Online ISBN: 9780511973581
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