The point of departure of Mill’s theory of the Art of Life is his distinction between scientific laws and practical injunctions. In A System of Logic Mill spoke of the Logic of Practice or Art as being expressed in the imperative mood, whereas that of science is expressed in indicatives. The Logic of Practice has as its subject matter the ends of action, or teleology, and seeks to classify these ends into departments or families and settle conflicts between them. Several points need clarification and emphasis in this brief characterisation. First, whereas Mill insists forcefully on the importance of the distinction between art and science, he is nevertheless at pains to stress that practical precepts are grounded in or supported by the theorems of the appropriate science. Precepts of practice or art cannot be justified by any theorem of science, but they always presuppose some such theorems. Each practical art—architecture and medicine are examples Mill gives 1 —‘has one first principle, or major premise, not borrowed from science; that which enuciates the object aimed at, and affirms it to be a desirable object’. 2 Mill goes on to assert that the various principles or premises of the practical arts 3
together with the principal conclusions which may be deduced from them, form (or rather might form) a body of doctrine, which is properly the Art of Life, in its three departments, Morality, Prudence or Policy, and Aesthetics; the Right, the Expedient, and the Beautiful or Noble, in human conduct and works. To this art
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Mill on Liberty:A Defence. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: John Gray - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 19.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.