This page features a collection of the best resources on John Stuart Mill. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview of Mill:
- Read the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Mill. However, it is quite long at around 12,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces Mill:
“John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) profoundly influenced the shape of nineteenth century British thought and political discourse. His substantial corpus of works includes texts in logic, epistemology, economics, social and political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, religion, and current affairs. . . . In his writings, Mill argues for a number of controversial principles. He defends radical empiricism in logic and mathematics, suggesting that basic principles of logic and mathematics are generalizations from experience rather than known a priori. The principle of utility—that “actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness”—was the centerpiece of his ethical philosophy. On Liberty puts forward the “harm principle” that “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.” In The Subjection of Women, he compares the legal status of women to the status of slaves and argues for equality in marriage and under the law. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
- Listen BBC’s In Our Time episode on John Stuart Mill [41:49 mins]
If you’d like to read a short passage from a classic work of philosophy:
- Read this short passage from Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ on the harm of silencing minority opinion [2200 words]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on John Stuart Mill
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!