Short introductory comments accompany the related remarks, and an editor's introduction provides an overview of Utilitarianism crafted specifically to enhance accessibility for first-time readers of the essay.
To cement together the detached fragments of a subject, never yet treated as a whole; to harmonize the true portions of discordant theories, by supplying the links of thought necessary to connect them, and by disentangling them from the errors with which they are always more or less interwoven, must necessarily require a considerable amount of original speculation. To other originality than this, the present work lays no claim. In the existing state of the cultivation of the sciences, there would be a very strong presumption against any one who should imagine that he had effected a revolution in the theory of the investigation of truth, or added any fundamentally new process to the practice of it. The improvement which remains to be effected in the methods of philosophizing (and the author believes that they have much need of improvement) can only consist in performing more systematically and accurately operations with which, at least in their elementary form, the human intellect, in some one or other of its employments, is already familiar.
These volumes contain over 1,800 letters, most never before published, and some sixty earlier letters that have come to light since the publication of the first two volumes of correspondence. The letters have been assembled from widely dispersed collections in the libraries of fifty-eight institutions and of some thirty private collections in Britain and in other countries of the Commonwealth, Europe, and North America. In addition, many personal letters of which no originals survived have been located in contemporary periodicals or biographies of Mill's correspondence.
Neatly framing Mill’s writing career are his editorial prefaces and extensive notes to Jeremy Bentham;s Rationale of Judicial Evidence (1827) and James Mill’s Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1869). Both demonstrate his extraordinary powers of mind and diligence as well as his fealty. His constant avocation, field botany, is shown in his botanical writings, which open a window on an almost unknown activity that sustained and delighted him. Brief comments on two medical works hint at another interest. Two articles of which he was co-author demonstrate his work as editor of the London and Westminster Review, and a calendar of his contributions to the Political Economy Club provides yet another glimpse into his chosen activities and concerns. Published for the first time are Mill’s English and French wills, providing still further biographical detail.
The complete text of the 1871 edition of Utilitarianism is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility.
These materials have never before been gathered, and almost all appear here for the first time in scholarly form. They throw light on contemporary social interests and behavior, and will encourage new assessments of Mill’s life and thought.
The texts, the great majority drawn from manuscripts, are presented in critical form, collated, with explanatory and textual notes. The Introduction gives the personal and historical context, with an analysis of content and rhetoric; the Textual Introduction supplies information about the nature and history of the documents, while Appendices provide ancillary materials. Both bibliographic and analytic indexes are included.
Also included are selections from the writings of Jeremy Bentham, founder of modern Utilitarianism and mentor (together with James Mill) of John Stuart Mill. Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation had important effects on political and legal reform in his own time and continues to provide insights for political theorists and philosophers of law. Seven chapters of Bentham's Principles are here in their entirety, together with a number of shorter selections, including one in which Bentham repudiates the slogan often used to characterize his philosophy: The Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number.
John Troyer's Introduction presents the central themes and arguments of Bentham and Mill and assesses their relevance to current discussions of Utilitarianism. The volume also provides indexes, a glossary, and notes.
Also contained in this volume is a major interpretative essay by Alice S. Rossi on Mill and Harriet Taylor which describes and analyzes their long personal and intellectual relationship.
The correspondence begins with an admiring letter from Mill who considers himself a positivist at the tune and writes to Comte as to an elder colleague. A close friendship developed, in the course of which they discussed matters of common concern. Their understanding extends to personal experiences, including their respective mental crises at an early age. The opinions expressed about their contemporaries are significant and include comments on Thomas Carlyle, John and Sarah Austin, and Alexander Bain, on philosophers and major authors in France, Germany, and Italy. Mill and Comte eventually encountered issues on which they could not come to consensus, especially the equality of women. While Mill was an ardent defender of women's rights, Comte supported the traditional hierarchy that endowed men with social and political superiority.
According to Jerome H. Buckley, Gurner Professor of English Literature Emeritus at Harvard University, "The correspondence of Mill and Comte, now available for the first time in English translation, is a remarkable intellectual exchange, a dialogue of real significance in the history of ideas." This volume will be of great interest to philosophers, historians, economists, women's studies scholars, and political scientists.
By T.R. Malthus:
• An Investigation of the Cause of the Present High Price of Provisions
• Observations on the Effects of the Corn Laws, and of a Rise or Fall in the Price of Corn on the Agriculture and General Wealth of the Country
• The Grounds of an Opinion on the Policy of Restricting the Importation of Foreign Corn; Intended as an Appendix to "Observations on the Corn Laws"
By David Ricardo:
• The High Price of Bullion, a Proof of the Depreciation of Bank Notes
By Frédéric Bastiat:
• Essays on Political Economy, Part I: Capital and Interest
• Essays on Political Economy, Part II: That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen
By John Stuart Mill:
• Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, Essay IV: On Profits, and Interest