John Stuart Mill's Enlightenment

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Is
He
or
Isn’t
He?

 Locating
John
Stuart
Mill 
in
 Ninetee nth
Centur y
Philosophy
 By
Ellen
Melville
 
 This
paper
was
written
for
History
416:
Nineteenth
Century
German
and
European
 Intellectual
History,
taught
by
Professor
Scott
Spector
in
Fall
2008.
 
 
 
 John
Stuart
Mill,
son
of
the
noted
British
philosopher
James
Mill,
is
routinely
 grouped
with
Jeremy
Bentham
as
one
of
the
great
Utilitarian
thinkers
of
the
nineteenth
 century.
He
was
devoted
to
preserving
and
expanding
liberty,
along
with
promoting
a
 limited
government.
However,
his
writings
demonstrate
a
deep
skepticism
regarding
the
 complete
faculty
of
human
reason
as
deified
by
Enlightenment
philosophers
of
the
 eighteenth
century,
as
well
as
his
own
father.
To
Mill,
the
philosophic,
rational
approach,
 and
especially
the
Utilitarian
ideas
espoused
by
Bentham,
is
incomplete
in
that
it
fails
to
 consider
alternative
opinions
or
human
emotions
which
do
not
fit
into
the
image
of
the
 rational,
calculating
man.
To
Mill,
the
Enlightenment
philosophers
became
too
subversive
 in
their
singular
focus
on
the
flaws
of
society.
Moreover,
Mill’s
writing
on
Samuel
Taylor
 Coleridge,
the
noted
Romantic
writer
and
poet,
commends
his
philosophic
reaction
to
the
 Enlightenment.
Finally,
some
of
Mill’s
writing
is
strikingly
similar
to
the
way
Edmund
 Burke,
a
founder
of
conservatism,
responded
to
the
French
Revolution.
Taken
together,
 then,
Mill’s
writings,
though
often
lumped
in
with
the
Utilitarian
philosophers
of
the
 nineteenth
century,
tempers
the
kind
of
thought
which
proceeded
from
the
Enlightenment
 notion
of
reason
with
a
view
of
humanity
that
draws
from
the
Romantics
and
even
some
 strains
of
conservative
thought.

 
 To
begin,
Mill’s
ambivalence
towards
earlier
Utilitarian
premises
seems
to
be,
at


least
in
part,
a
reaction
against
his
father,
James
Mill.
James
believed
in
the
new
tabula
rasa


1

theory,
which
held
that
the
mind
was
a
blank
slate,
and
therefore
could
be
completely
...
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