Talk:John Stuart Mill

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Need to modify "Freedom of Speech" section[edit]

The "Views on Freedom of Speech" section is simply a quote of one of the more unintelligible passages from "On Liberty". I propose the reason it is a quote rather than an encyclopedic enlightenment is because people are afraid to summarize it out of fear they don't understand it, which is all the more reason it should *not* be quoted, but summarized so that the modern reader can understand it. He's saying deeply held, popular, crucial beliefs should remain open to criticism because if they are wrong then the damage is all the more great. And by taking the case of something considered to be an exception to freedom of speech, he is providing an argument for a larger class. Although somewhat profound, it was not easy for me to figure it out, and I'm not sure it is a summary of his views on freedom of speech. Ywaz (talk) 11:48, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

"Religion of humanity"[edit]

Martha Nussbaum writes something about Mill's concept of the "religion of humanity", but I find nothing of that in this article. --13Peewit (talk) 08:36, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

I heard that Bertrand Russell had an epiphany when he read Mill's writing that if everything requires a cause then god should require a cause. (talk) 23:11, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

New York Review of Books resource[edit]

The Passionate Hero, Then and Now December 8, 2011 New York Review of Books Alan Ryan. John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves, Atlantic Books (talk) 21:48, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

potential resource[edit] (talk) 07:30, 4 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

John Stuart Mill, Dead Thinker of the Year: The 19th century thinker still has much to teach us on liberty. by Robert D. Kaplan December 2011, excerpt ...

... which is why he is such an appropriate guide for these complicated times. Mill asserts, in On Liberty, and especially in Considerations on Representative Government, that while democratic government is surely to be preferred in theory, it is incredibly problematic in its particulars. This, of course, is part of Mill's larger exploration of liberty, and why ultimately the only justification a government has to curtail that liberty is when a person's behavior impinges on the rights of others. Despotism may work better in some instances, if only as a temporary measure, he writes; democracy is not suited for each and every society during significant periods of its development. I am crudely simplifying Mill, who is so clear while being so incredibly nuanced, and thus immensely readable. (talk) 01:32, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Not a shred of potential relevance to this article. Furthermore, the quote is probably excessive, and has (probably intentionally) damaged Wikilinks. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:37, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
The quote is not excessive as compared to quotes in many other articles. There is no way that the quote can damage Wikilinks. Please explain how it could damage Wikilinks. It is a very thought–provoking quote and a very important one, especially for these times in which democratization is thought to be, by some, as a panacea.Lestrade (talk) 12:10, 5 December 2011 (UTC)Lestrade
What I mean by "damaged Wikilinks" is that the links do not refer to the same concept the quote contains. That is the sort of thing that can damage Wikipedia as a whole. We do not link within quotes, even on talk pages, unless (1) the meaning is not obvious and (2) our meaning is obviously what the speaker/writer intended. An example of failure of the latter is "a person's [[Human behavior|behavior]]"; while an example of both is "rights", in that Mill did have a specific meaning of "rights", and it is not ours. The anon is good at creating links where none should exist. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:00, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin, please elaborate on why, as you say wikilinks "damage Wikipedia as a whole"? (talk) 00:47, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Incorrect wikilinks damage Wikipedia as a whole. As your understanding of English seems minimal, perhaps you do not understand why the links are incorrect. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:54, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Adminitis? (talk) 09:45, 7 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:COMPETENCE? And I haven't taken any admin action against you. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:48, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Biography section[edit]

The biography section makes use of Mill's Autobiography as a record of his life, even mentioning his reading Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe as a child. I think its important to note that his Autobiography was not conventional and he was certainly adjusting the events of his life in order to make certain statements about his views, and so many of these details are debatable as having actually occurred. Those two books, for example, seem to symbolize Mill's isolation as a child as well as his fathers clinging to utilitarian views in a time when Romanticism is becoming popular. This may be a coincidental analysis, but it is an ongoing discussion. So, I think it is more appropriate to use the qualifiers such as "According to the Autobiography..." which is used in some paragraphs. Does any one else agree with this perspective on his biography? TreboniusArtorius (talk) 07:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

WikiProject Libertarianism?[edit]

I'm pretty sure that Mill was more of a democratic socialist than a libertarian, both economically and on social issues. He certainly was not anti-tax, anti-state, or anti-tariff. He was for a very regulated free market. —Cupco 23:01, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

JS Mill changed a lot over the course of his life. His first writings about individual liberty and tyranny of the majority are quintessentially libertarian whereas his later works (especially a book named Socialism) were more interventionist. So I think it is not unfair to add him to the libertarian / classical liberal tradition. -- (talk) 05:44, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I do not think Mill was a libertarian or a classical liberal, but enough libertarians and classical liberals see Mill as one of their own that tag is not misplaced (much like "existentialism" wouldn't be misplaced on Heidegger or "utilitarianism" on Hume or Smith, though each is a tendentious claim). Also, Mill never really wrote a book called Socalism. He wrote some chapters on socialism (I believe they were going to go into a later edition of Principles of Political Economy), and they later got compiled into a book.2601:B:C580:2D9:CAF7:33FF:FE77:D800 (talk) 21:27, 12 November 2014 (UTC)

Confusing sentence[edit]

He propagated birth control as against moral restraint.

What does this sentence mean? Is it supposed to mean, "he favored birth control over (or against) moral restraint" or, "he propagated the idea that birth control runs contrary to the ideal of moral restraint (and shouldn't be emphasized or should be outlawed)", or something else entirely? TaintedMustard (talk) 17:08, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

I've replaced this with a more straighforward sentence and added a bit about his 1823 arrest for distributing birth control literature to clarify his position on birth control.3fingeredPete (talk) 01:31, 1 September 2013(UTC)
The entire article is written in horrible corkscrew prose using many largely unfamiliar terms (utilitarianism, inductive approach, confirmation bias, falsifiability — and those from just the first paragraph) which are nearly useless to the general reader. At least the summary should be re-written in such a way that a reader who hasn't already studied Mill's work doesn't get the idea that — as Frank McCourt wrote: "the people who wrote it don’t want the likes of me to know anything."Gillartsny (talk) 20:28, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

"Mill was known for reciting lecture and theory at children's birthday parties"?[edit]

What's the source of such claim? I can't find any on the internet as of now. He/she who added such a description should also provide the source. Anon J (talk) 10:00, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Clearly a joke (added 10 August). I'm removing it. GrindtXX (talk) 10:35, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Strange second paragraph in the lead[edit]

The second paragraph in the lead is a real head-scratcher. It's confusingly written and could use some style improvements. I don't even know what "true freedom" means, or this sentence: "By establishing an appreciable level of worthiness concerned with one's ability to fulfill personal standards of notability and merit, Mill was able to provide many with a principal example of how they should achieve such particular values." (N.b., I am not the person who tagged "true freedom" as in need of clarification, but I guess I agree with them.)2601:B:C580:2D9:CAF7:33FF:FE77:D800 (talk) 21:15, 12 November 2014 (UTC)