Born in London in 1806 into a pedigree of intellect, and educated at the knee of his father, the Scottish philosopher James Mill, John Stuart Mill became one of the nineteenth century’s most influential writers on economics and social philosophy. Liberty Fund is pleased to present in paperback eight of the original thirty-three hardcover volumes of the Collected Works of John Stuart Mill that were first published by the University of Toronto Press.
This collection includes Mill’s Autobiography, which tells of his extraordinary education under the direct tutelage of his father, and under the indirect influence of some of England’s most renowned political economic thinkers, such as Jeremy Bentham. At the tender age of three, Mill was reading Greek, and by eight years of age he was well-versed in English history, classical western philosophy, and arithmetic.
These volumes also include Principles of Political Economy, a compendium of economic theory ranging from Adam Smith through the then-modern theories of David Ricardo and Bentham. Principles was the leading economics textbook for nearly half a century and influenced generations of social and economic thinkers.
Primarily of interest to economists is Mill’s Essays on Economics and Society, in which he writes on the most compelling economic problems and social concerns brought about by the rapidly industrialized nineteenth-century Britain. The most indispensable work for understanding Mill’s thought is A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, which was the first serious attempt to methodize induction in relation to deduction.
Essays on Ethics, Religion and Society includes Mill’s response to Benthamite utilitarianism and his development of his own independent moral position.
One of Mill’s primary distinctions as a pedagogical writer came from his ability to lucidly articulate the economic and social thoughts of other thinkers, such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Locke, and Jeremy Bentham and to build further upon the foundation of these thinkers’ work. Over the last century and a half, much of Mill’s thought has been criticized thoroughly and some of his theories have not been borne out by historical experience, but his writings are still for the most part as lively and as interesting today as when they were first published, and all of his works are an invaluable part of the history of modern economic, political, social, and philosophical thought.
Liberty Fund is pleased to make available in paperback the eight volumes of Mill’s writings that remain most relevant to liberty and responsibility in the twenty-first century.
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an economist, philosopher, member of parliament, and one of the most significant English classical liberals of the nineteenth century. Mill spent most of his working life with the East India Company, which he joined at age sixteen and worked there for thirty-eight years. He is also the author of On Liberty (1859), Utilitarianism (1861), and The Subjection of Women (1869).