Toward a Science of Human Nature: Essays on the Psychologies of Mill, Hegel, Wundt, and James

By Daniel N. Robinson | Go to book overview

2. JOHN STUART Mill

The Larger Context

In his unsigned eulogy which appeared in the Fortnightly Review for June 1873, John Morley observed:

Much will one day have to be said as to the precise value of Mr. Mill's philosophical principles, the more or less of his triumphs as a dialectician, his skill as a critic and an explorer, and his originality as a discoverer. However this trial may go, we shall at any rate be sure that with his reputation will stand or fall the intellectual repute of a whole generation of his countrymen. 1

The passage comes from the pen of one of Mill's close friends and admirers, but it could have been written by any number of eminent Victorians critical of Mill's philosophy and his politics. So manifest were his powers of mind, so thoughtful and fair were his criticisms of competing views, that he enjoyed the rare distinction of being respected as much by his opponents as by his friends and disciples. For two decades, his essays were an obligatory feature of an Oxford education. And, as Morley went on to say: "He is the only writer in the world whose treatises on highly abstract subjects have been printed during his lifetime in editions for the people, and sold at the price of railway novels." 2

He was the most articulate and persuasive advocate of individualism and libertarian ethics in modern times; the

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Toward a Science of Human Nature: Essays on the Psychologies of Mill, Hegel, Wundt, and James
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1. the Nineteenth Century 1
  • 2. John Stuart Mill 31
  • 3. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 83
  • 4. Wilhelm Wundt 127
  • 5. William James 173
  • 6. the Nineteenth Century Revisited a Postscript 217
  • BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINES 229
  • Notes 237
  • Index 253
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