Starting with Mill by John R. Fitzpatrick

By John R. Fitzpatrick

John Stuart Mill was once essentially the most very important and influential British philosophers. while one considers his total highbrow contributions, Mill is arguably crucial highbrow determine of the 19th century. overlaying all of the key options of his paintings, beginning with Mill presents an obtainable advent to the tips of this highly major philosopher.

Clearly dependent in line with Mill's key works, the booklet leads the reader via an intensive review of the improvement of his concept, leading to a extra thorough realizing of the roots of his philosophical matters. providing insurance of the entire diversity of Mill's principles, the booklet explores his contributions to metaphysics and epistemology, good judgment, psychology, political economic system, ethics, utilitarianism, and liberalism. The ebook introduces the main thinkers whose paintings proved influential within the improvement of Mill's idea, together with Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, Adam Smith, John Locke and the opposite British Empiricists.

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Instead Mill offers a philosophical system that makes no appeal to the a priori. Echoing arguments that Locke made earlier in his attack on innate ideas, Mill argues that a priori knowledge is a false tool used to defend prejudices that cannot be justified with empirical evidence. I make as humble an estimate as anybody of what either an analysis of logical processes, or any possible canons of evidence, can do by themselves, towards guiding or rectifying the operations of the understanding. Combined with other requisites, I certainly do think them of great use; but whatever may be the practical value of a true philosophy of these matters, it is hardly possible to exaggerate the mischiefs of a false one.

Secondly, James Mill ‘resolutely turned his back on the past’ and did nothing to preserve the details of his youth. ’ As noted above, apart from not leaving behind an autobiography, James Mill never wrote down any of the details of his early life, and even his son John had only a crude sketch of his father’s early life. In his Autobiography John Stuart Mill wrote: I was born in London, on the 20th of May, 1806, and was the eldest son of James Mill, the author of the History of British 33 STARTING WITH MILL India.

In offering his own radical version of naturalism and empiricism, he wishes to offer an alternative to Kant and the other a priori schools of human knowledge. By suggesting that even mathematics, logic, and the natural sciences can be grounded in what Quine would later call a naturalized epistemology (and I do not wish to suggest that there are not significant 24 MILL AND THE MODERN WORLD differences between Mill and Quine), Mill removes the need for the elaborate systems advocated by the German metaphysicians of the eighteenth and the nineteenth century.

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