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Born Apr. 6, 1773, in Northwater Bridge, Scotland; died June 23, 1836, in Kensington. British philosopher, historian, and economist. Father of John Stuart Mill.
James Mill graduated from the faculty of theology of Edinburgh University in 1798. He became a journalist. After the publication of the History of India (vols. 1–3, 1817–18), he obtained a position in the East India Company in London, where he worked for the rest of his life. He was greatly influenced by the utilitarianism of J. Bentham. In his main philosophical work, An Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind (1829), Mill followed the doctrine of D. Hume, striving to reduce all meaning to feelings or experiences, among which he included sensations and “ideas.” He made extensive use of the principle of the association of ideas proposed by Hume and D. Hartley, considering association the basic operation of consciousness. In ethics he was a utilitarian, regarding the public good as the highest principle and the criterion of morality but as a good that could not be completely realized by human beings. He saw the source of personal happiness in devotion to the common good. Characteristic of his sociological views was his denial of the concept of natural law and his effort to explain the content and structure of all social institutions in terms of the principle of utility. An adherent of liberal bourgeois political views, Mill proposed partial improvements in the British constitutional system. He considered the “middle class”—that is, the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie—the true master of the state.
I. S. NARSKII
In the book Elements of Political Economy (1821), Mill emerges as a disciple of and a commentator on D. Ricardo’s teachings, which he considered a theoretical weapon in the struggle against the vestiges of feudalism in the economy. At the same time, he distorted and oversimplified Ricardo’s theory, ignoring its essence—the labor theory of value. Thus, he laid the foundation for the disintegration of the Ricardian school. Mill is famous as one of the authors of the apologistic wages-fund theory, according to which the total share of wages in the national income is determined by natural factors and does not depend on the results of the class struggle.
WORKSThe Principles of Toleration. London, 1837.
A Fragment on Mackintosh, new ed. London, 1870.
REFERENCESMarx, K. “K kritike politicheskoi ekonomii.” In K. Marx and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 13.
Marx, K. “Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (Das Kapital, vol. 4). Ibid., vol. 26.
Rozenberg, D. I. Istoriia politicheskoi ekonomii, part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. Pages 304–13.
Istoriia filosofii, vol. 3. [Moscow] 1943. Pages 456–59.
Bain, A. J. Mill. London, 1882.
Stephen, L. The English Utilitarians, vol. 2. New York, 1950.
Mill, John S. Autobiography. New York .