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James Mill

(1773—1836) political philosopher


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(1773–1836)

Scottish philosopher, economist, and man of letters. Born in Forfar, Mill was educated at Edinburgh university. Working in London first as a free-lance journalist, and subsequently for the East India Company, Mill became friendly with Bentham and grew to be a leading member of the ‘philosophical radicals’, the liberal and predominantly utilitarian group that included John Austin and the economist David Ricardo (1772–1823). Although most of his writing is an application of utilitarian principles to practical subjects such as education, the liberty of the press, and government, Mill also produced An Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829), an elaboration of the associationist psychology of Hume and Hartley. Associationism is an appropriate philosophy of mind to put alongside utilitarianism, since it means that the task of the educator is to bring the student to associate private pleasure with advancement of the public welfare. In spite of Mill's extensive concerns with education, the upbringing of his son J. S. Mill has generally been regarded as excessively rigorous.

Subjects: Philosophy — Economics.


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