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John Stuart Mill

Philosopher

Born: 20 May 1806
Died: 8 May 1873
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as: Author of 1859's On Liberty
John Stuart Mill was a key figure in the movement known as utilitarianism, and a proponent of the liberal philosophy of Jeremy Bentham. Mill was educated at home by his father, philosopher and economist James Mill, who had been a champion of Bentham's movement. After a career with the East India Company, John made his fame with the publication of 1843's A System of Logic. He went on to write several important essays and books that championed the 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, Mill co-wrote several essays with his friend and wife, Harriet Taylor. His best-known works are On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1867) and The Subjection of Women (1869).

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