>John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham, although his conception of it was very different from Bentham’s. Hoping to remedy the problems found in an inductive approach to science, such as confirmation bias, he clearly set forth the premises of falsification as the key component in the scientific method. Mill was also a Member of Parliament and an important figure in classical liberal political philosophy.
Quotes attributed to John Stuart Mill:
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.
A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.
Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.
All action is for the sake of some end; and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and color from the end to which they are subservient.
All desirable things… are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as a means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.
All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.
All political revolutions, not affected by foreign conquest, originate in moral revolutions. The subversion of established institutions is merely one consequence of the previous subversion of established opinions.
As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.
As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained.
I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.
I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.
It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.
Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered and protected can never experience.
One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.
Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.
Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true, but seldom or never the whole truth.
That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.
The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.
The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of the pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes.
The disease which inflicts bureaucracy and what they usually die from is routine.
The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.
The individual is not accountable to society for his actions in so far as these concern the interests of no person but himself.
The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.
The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power.
The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.
There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.
Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.
We have a right, also, in various ways, to act upon our unfavorable opinion of anyone, not to the oppression of his individuality, but in the exercise of ours.
What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.