Stuart Mill’s Quotes

April 16, 2012

John Stuart Mill

English philosopher, father of utilitarianism with John Bentham, John Stuart Mill is one of the leading figures of liberalism and utilitariansm. His morality is one sentence: the duty consists to maximize the sum of happiness that an individual may purchase.

Here are few quotes by Mill:

Stuart Mill and the utilitarian morality:

- “Morality is the utility or the greatest happiness principle”

- “Happiness is not a goal that continues bitterly, it is a flower that you picked on the path of duty”

- “If, as I believe, the moral feelings are not innate but acquired, they are none the less for that, natural. It is natural to man to speak, to reason, to build cities to cultivate the soil, although they are there faculties acquired. moral sentiments, indeed, are not part of our nature, if by that we mean they should be present in all of us in any appreciable degree ; regrettably, no doubt, but acknowledged by those who believe most strongly in the transcendental origin of these feelings. However, like other skills acquired, the moral faculty, if it is not part of our nature, it develops naturally, like other faculties, it is able to take birth spontaneously, and very low at the beginning, it can be worn by the culture at a high level of development. Unfortunately too, relying as much as is necessary for sanctions External and using the influence of first impressions, it can develop in any direction, or almost sure that there is hardly any idea, absurd or evil it is, that one can not impose human spirit by giving, by the interplay of these influences, all the authority ”

- “The only purpose for which men are warranted, individually or collectively, to intervene in the freedom of action of one of their fellows, is to protect oneself”

- “What is happiness or not the ultimate end of morality, it is essential in any case, the very idea of ​​moral philosophy, that morality refers to any purpose, it is not allowed under the vague feelings of dominance or inexplicable internal conviction – that it is subject to reason and calculation, and not just sentiment. This alone may allow arguments to be made and that a discussion is possible in this area. What morality of our actions depends on the consequences they produce is the common doctrine of reasonable people to all schools. Whether good or bad attached to these consequences is measured solely through the pain or the pleasure they bring is the single point of doctrine that belongs exclusively to the utilitarian school ”

- “Luckily, it means the pleasure and the absence of suffering and misery mean pain and lack of pleasure”

- ” I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them”

Stuart Mill, God and religion:

- “God is a word to express, not our ideas, but the lack thereof”

Stuart Mill and liberty:

- “Liberty consists in doing what one wishes”

- “The freedom of the individual must be so limited: it must not render it injurious to others”

- “Forcing His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient justification. A man can not rightfully be compelled to act or forbear because it will be better for him that would make it more happy or that in the opinion of others, doing so would be wise or even just ”

Stuart Mill and politics:

- “Socialism is the modern form of protest, at all periods of intellectual activity, has risen more or less vivid, against the unjust distribution of benefits”

- “All the selfish tendencies found among men, the cult of self and the disregard of others, have their source in the current organization of relations between men and women”


More on Mill’s Philosophy:

Stuart Mill Philosophy