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John Stuart Mill’s projected science of society: 1827-1848

Kawana, Y.; (2009) John Stuart Mill’s projected science of society: 1827-1848. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The purpose of the thesis is to examine John Stuart Mill’s political thought from about 1827 to 1848 as an exercise in intellectual history. It focuses, first, on Mill’s view, formulated by the late 1830s, that contemporary society was ‘civilized’, and second, on his project of a science of society, which he aspired to develop in the late 1830s and early 1840s. By the late 1830s, Mill came to the view that his contemporary society was a ‘commercial society or civilization’, dominated by the middle, commercial class. The first part of my thesis, constituted by Chapters 2-4, discusses the way in which Mill formed his notion of civilization, and what he meant by the term ‘civilization’. Mill paid attention to the implications of the rise of the middle class, and regarded such phenomena of contemporary society as the corruption of the commercial spirit and excessive social conformity as an inevitable consequence of the rise of the middle class. The second part of the thesis, constituted by Chapters 5-9, examines Mill’s projected science of society. In the late 1830s and early 1840s, Mill attempted to develop a new science of society whose subject-matter was the nature and prospects of commercial, civilized society. This aspiration culminated in A System of Logic, published in 1843. In examining Mill’s projected science, I pay particular attention to the fact that he conceived new sciences of history and of the formation of character, both of which were indispensable in his project, although he failed to give a complete account of these sciences. My thesis shows that the implications of his interest both in history and in the formation of character are more significant than Mill scholars have assumed.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:John Stuart Mill’s projected science of society: 1827-1848
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English

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