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John Stuart Mill

Geburtstag: 20. Mai 1806
Todesdatum: 8. Mai 1873
Andere Namen:J.S Mill,John S. Mill

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John Stuart Mill war ein britischer Philosoph und Ökonom und einer der einflussreichsten liberalen Denker des 19. Jahrhunderts, der seine intellektuelle Schärfe und Unabhängigkeit nicht zuletzt durch sein außergewöhnlich frühes Eintreten für die Frauenemanzipation bewies. Mill war Anhänger des Utilitarismus, der von Jeremy Bentham, dem Lehrer und Freund seines Vaters James Mill, entwickelt wurde. Seine wirtschaftlichen Werke zählen zu den Grundlagen der klassischen Nationalökonomie, und Mill selbst gilt als Vollender des klassischen Systems und zugleich als sozialer Reformer.

Der von ihm als Gegenentwurf zu Thomas Morus’ Utopia geprägte Begriff Dystopia bezeichnet einen pessimistischen Zukunftsentwurf in Philosophie und Literatur.

Zitate John Stuart Mill

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„For, though they have thrown off certain errors, the general discipline of their minds, intellectually and morally, is not altered. I am now convinced, that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.“

— John Stuart Mill
Context: it might even be questioned if the various causes of deterioration which had been at work in the meanwhile, had not more than counterbalanced the tendencies to improvement. I had learnt from experience that many false opinions may be exchanged for true ones, without in the least altering the habits of mind of which false opinions are the result. The English public, for example, are quite as raw and undiscerning on subjects of political economy since the nation has been converted to free-trade, as they were before; and are still further from having acquired better habits of thought and feeling, or being in any way better fortified against error, on subjects of a more elevated character. For, though they have thrown off certain errors, the general discipline of their minds, intellectually and morally, is not altered. I am now convinced, that no great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.

„And there seemed no power in nature sufficient to begin the formation of my character anew, and create in a mind now irretrievably analytic, fresh associations of pleasure with any of the objects of human desire.“

— John Stuart Mill
Context: I had obtained some distinction, and felt myself of some importance, before the desire of distinction and of importance had grown into a passion: and little as it was which I had attained, yet having been attained too early, like all pleasures enjoyed too soon, it had made me blasé and indifferent to the pursuit. Thus neither selfish nor unselfish pleasures were pleasures to me. And there seemed no power in nature sufficient to begin the formation of my character anew, and create in a mind now irretrievably analytic, fresh associations of pleasure with any of the objects of human desire.

„Newton saw the truth of many propositions of geometry without reading the demonstrations, but not, we may be sure, without their flashing through his mind. A truth, or supposed truth, which is really the result of a very rapid inference, may seem to be apprehended intuitively. It has long been agreed by thinkers of the most opposite schools, that this mistake is actually made in so familiar an instance as that of the eyesight. There is nothing of which we appear to ourselves to be more directly conscious, than the distance of an object from us. Yet it has long been ascertained, that what is perceived by the eye, is at most nothing more than a variously coloured surface; that when we fancy we see distance, all we really see is certain variations of apparent size, and degrees of faintness of colour; and that our estimate of the object's distance from us is the result of a comparison (made with so much rapidity that we are unconscious of making it) between the size and colour of the object as they appear at the time, and the size and colour of the same or of similar objects as they appeared when close at hand, or when their degree of remoteness was known by other evidence.“

— John Stuart Mill
Context: [W]e may fancy that we see or feel what we in reality infer. Newton saw the truth of many propositions of geometry without reading the demonstrations, but not, we may be sure, without their flashing through his mind. A truth, or supposed truth, which is really the result of a very rapid inference, may seem to be apprehended intuitively. It has long been agreed by thinkers of the most opposite schools, that this mistake is actually made in so familiar an instance as that of the eyesight. There is nothing of which we appear to ourselves to be more directly conscious, than the distance of an object from us. Yet it has long been ascertained, that what is perceived by the eye, is at most nothing more than a variously coloured surface; that when we fancy we see distance, all we really see is certain variations of apparent size, and degrees of faintness of colour; and that our estimate of the object's distance from us is the result of a comparison (made with so much rapidity that we are unconscious of making it) between the size and colour of the object as they appear at the time, and the size and colour of the same or of similar objects as they appeared when close at hand, or when their degree of remoteness was known by other evidence. The perception of distance by the eye, which seems so like intuition, is thus, in reality, an inference grounded on experience; an inference, too, which we learn to make; and which we make with more and more correctness as our experience increases; though in familiar cases it takes place, so rapidly as to appear exactly on a par with those perceptions of sight which are really intuitive, our perceptions of colour. p. 4

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