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Discuss the mental crisis in John Stuart Mill's Autobiography.

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nittoh-bittoh | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:01 AM via web

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Discuss the mental crisis in John Stuart Mill's Autobiography.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:53 PM (Answer #1)

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John Stuart Mill's Autobiography discusses in some detail the upbringing and mental and emotional history of the famous 19th century philosopher. John STuart Mill's father, James Mill, had originally studied to become a minister in the Church of Scotland, but being a weak preacher, was unable to find work. He gradually lost his faith and became associated with the Utilitarian movement. He raised his son according to what he considered a rational plan of study, focusing on his intellectual development but neglecting his emotional development. John Stuart Mill describes this upbringing as leading to a crisis (what we might now call an episode of major depression) in which he felt a lack of happiness and purpose to his life. The crisis was resolved, to a large degree, by his discovery of Wordsworth's poetry in particular and the arts in general. This led him to a rejection of the pure Utilitarianism of his father and an insistence on the balance of intellectual, spiritual, and emotional well-being in ethical theory.

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