|A SHORT HISTORY OF IDEAS|
|HISTORY AND CONTEXT OF JOURNALISM|
JS Mill was considered to have extraordinary intellectual eminence, and his ability to systematically account for the enlightened view of social and political issues. He took the works of poets such as Coleridge and legal reformists such as Bentham and made the ambitions of continental socialists, discussable with commonplace economics.
Why is Mill interesting?
The synthesis of liberal empiricist utilitarian economics (Hume, Smith, etc) with romanticism, especially the English romantic poets. This is an intellectual head on car smash; it contributed to JS Mill’s breakdown. The result though was JS’s Mill version of ethical socialism; a merger or romantic ‘sensibility’ with the supposedly scientific outlook of the empiricists and utilitarians.
Mill’s On Liberty looks like the Romantic, Individualism Idealist Mill (based on people like Goethe) Vs the U reformer that his youth taught.
Mill claimed that he was arguing for liberty based on Utilitarian grounds so it was an instrumental not an absolute argument – but this has been thought to be implausible.
There are two stands of Mill. Who some people think can be unified. Berlin does not think this. He sees Mill as having one side from the Utilitarian and his father – the notion that what human beings want is to be happy, and we discover the true to be happy via scientific investigation (social sciences, anthropology, psychology) we can discover what will make most normal human beings happy – and we must help them to be happy. People should be conditioned in a way, which will make them happy, by rewards, the stick/carrot approach. And Isiah Berlin thinks that Mill as an aspect of this. But Berlin says that here we can identify a contradiction based upon Mill’s huge focus on the individual and simply folding to the majority and custom is bad and detrimental. “Humans are like plants” we don’t want to live like sheep.
Mill and human nature: we need some freedom of thought in order to produce new theories, but he took the view of Comte that we cannot give people too much freedom.
Once we have all the same knowledge as the scientist we need to work out who the experts are – we need to know which fields of human inquiry are the most useful.
Why should we not have experts in social aspect of lives?
Mill has worked as a civil servant in the east India Company and also as an MP working for votes for women.
And when he was in the house of parliament his speeches did not concern so much the utilitarian concerns like to clean up the sewage, but more often he spoke of concerns about liberty so things protecting minorities from majority bullying.
Isiah Berlin: and the Happiness Pill.
He says that if you were to reason with Mill and say that human beings have only ever been happy for a very short amount of time, as we have the sense of remorse, and guilt that we could have done better and that feelings such as grief is one of the biggest prevention to happiness. So Berlin sets up a scenario where if you could give someone a pill which would enable that person to never feel remorse or grief, so in this sense no pain. This may make them less enterprising – but they will be reasonably happy. They will not be able to go beyond the relative contedeness that the pill provides them but based on the one average account of human happiness through history, Berlin, proposes that it is minimal and that perhaps going for the pill makes sense – but Berlin says that it is not likely for Mill to agree to take a pill that will take away conscious, remorse, freedom of action.
Mill does say in On Liberty that he is putting forward the utilitarian case for individual liberty. “Freedom is a means to happiness, not an actual right”. Mill does this by emphasis’s progress. And happiness is best guaranteed by progress.
Utility for Mill is liberty for the progression of the human being
Mill as an empiricist and not as a utopian does not believe that you can work out what the best way to live is and then model your society around that, Mill does not think that things can be as final as that.
Do we believe Mill that ethics and morality can be looked at via a scientific approach? Or does he think the opposite.
From Mills essays on Bentham and Coleridge we can see the conflict Mill felt between what he inherited and what he taught himself. Mill not only thought that the romantics could teach the rational side of Bentham, Mill saw it as a whole new style of thinking and a whole new style of feeling he found lacking in his father which he says was a factor in his on break down in 1826. A conflict between science and poetry and Mill felt that while his father was alive he could rally against him too much.
It seems to be these too tensions in Mills character, which make him an interesting character still.
On the one hand Mill was a man who thought science would save us, get rid of superstition and the curse of man kind as Berlin says “interested error” and then the longing for variety and richness of life moving in their own directions and the horror of custom and mundanity and the direction of one by another. And these do sit comfortably side by side and “this is what makes mill so fascinating to read” – Berlin
Mills may contribution to philosophy; a system of logic ran through seven editions during his lifetime and formed the bases of the teaching of philosophy – even in the old universities, which Mill came to despise.
PETER MEDOWER: Nobel Peace Prize winning scientist
No scientific fact has every been made via induction – Darwin was not the good Baconian as he thought.
It is when you retrospectively analyze and situation where lots of things take place. It is then when you can look over all the causes can you use Mills case for induction exactly. So for example if you have a dinner party and one person gets ill, you can only find out what made them ill by looking over all the possible causes after the event. So if someone gets ill at your dinner party it cant be due to the potted shrimp as everyone ate those, but only one person got ill. And gradually you can work it down by applying the method of difference and Mills four principles of discovery to work it out.
Mill Vs Huell?
Mill represents the division between poetry and science.
Mill looked to Coleridge to give him an account of the meaning of life.
Men at harmony with themselves will it’s self be a harmonious society.
Mill tended to try to link both strands of his personality.
Mills reading of Coleridge influenced his view of social theory. The reading of Coleridge showed Mill that institutions brought about via democracy were not just instruments of greed or folly but they were an expression of a countries national character at a particular stage in its history. This didn’t mean they should not be altered.
Mill thinks democracy should be there to represent the views of the people.
Mill always thought of himself as a radical – even though he loved the conservative Colridge so much.
Mill is different to C. in regard to economics. Mill was sure economics was a science.
Mill made a distinction between laws of production and laws of distribution
Mill relied on this distinction as it showed how you could keep the benefits of a competitive market, while still working through the legal system to distribute property to achieve better equality.
Mill wanted to argue that wage law would be compatible with trade union demands.
It demonstrates that Mill does not seem to care about growth of business year upon year as the idea of the wage law doesn’t really exist.
Mill and Population:
These seem to be modern ideas.
Objections come from if you limit population you limit wealth. If we define wealth as material things. But Mill says that although a limit to population growth will limit the amount we can produce it will not limit the extent of non-material wealth we can create. “Intellectual wealth”
But it wouldn’t be a stationary state by today’s standards, as we will now include non-material wealth as a part of goods.
One of Mills reasons for wanting to make economics less dismal to make the transition to socialism more appealing.
Was Mill a socialist?
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