The Nineteenth Century [Routledge History of Philosophy, V. 7]

By C. L. Ten | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

J. S. Mill

Logic and metaphysics

John Skorupski


ENLIGHTENMENT AND ROMANTICISM IN MILL’S PHILOSOPHY

Mill’s importance as one of the major figures of nineteenth-century politics and culture, and the current interest in him as a moral and political philosopher, are both so great that they make it hard to see him in another aspect—as a leading contributor to the British tradition of epistemology and metaphysics. Yet it was the System of Logic (1843) that first established his reputation; and his views in this field remain as interesting and relevant as his better known views in ethics and politics.

Throughout his intellectual life Mill sought to weave together the insights of enlightenment and Romanticism. He applied Romantic idealism’s moral understanding to utilitarianism’s concepts of character, imagination and purpose, freedom and reason, human good. To German Romanticism he owes one of his master themes—that of the culture of human nature as a whole, both in its diverse spontaneity and in its rational autonomy. But the metaphysical and psychological foundations of his thought lie securely in the naturalistic empiricism of the British school—and, moreover, in its radical and associationist, rather than its conservative and innatist, wing. Thus the deepest questions about Mill’s philosophical success turn on the possibility of such a synthesis, and on how far he achieved it.

Reasons for doubt centre on two great issues, which at bottom are linked. Must not naturalism subvert reason, as Kant thought? And must not a natural science of man—a scientific psychology—subvert the understanding from within, the moral psychology of autonomy and expressive spontaneity, which Mill shares with the ‘Germano-Coler-

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The Nineteenth Century [Routledge History of Philosophy, V. 7]
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • General Editors' Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Chronology xiv
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Early Utilitarians 5
  • Chapter 2 - Whewell's Philosophy of Science and Ethics 32
  • Chapter 3 - J. S. Mill 62
  • Bibliography 96
  • Chapter 4 - J. S. Mill 98
  • Chapter 5 - Sidgwick 122
  • Chapter 6 - Comte and Positivism 148
  • Bibliography 174
  • Chapter 7 - Nietzsche 177
  • Chapter 8 - Dilthey 206
  • Bibliography 235
  • Chapter 9 - Logic and the Philosophy of Mathematics in the Nineteenth Century 242
  • Chapter 10 - Philosophy of Biology in the Nineteenth Century 272
  • Bibliography 296
  • Chapter 11 - The Separation of Psychology from Philosophy 297
  • Chapter 12 - American Pragmatism 357
  • Chapter 13 - American Pragmatism 381
  • Bibliography 405
  • Chapter 14 - Green, Bosanquet and the Philosophy of Coherence 408
  • Bibliography 434
  • Chapter 15 - Bradley 437
  • Bibliography 458
  • Glossary 459
  • Index 461
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