John Stuart Mill, 1806 - 1873

“The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle… That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

J.S. Mill, On Liberty


John Stuart Mill was one of the most important intellectual figures of the nineteenth century. He contributed to economics, epistemology, logic, and psychology, among other fields. However, his most lasting influence has been through his utilitarian ethics and liberal political philosophy. [Read More]


John Stuart Mill’s rise to prominence was not an accident. Born in 1806 near London, in Pentonville, England, he was the eldest son of James Mill, an intellectual and reformer closely associated with Jeremy Bentham. Bentham and Mill were the foremost members of a group called the Philosophical Radicals who were united by their commitment to Bentham’s utilitarianism as the basis for political reform. [Read More]

Recommended Works

Featured Video

Prof. Szelényi discusses the importance of the work and thought of John Stuart Mill in this Yale Open Courses lecture

Recommended Commentary