John Stuart Mill

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No longer enslaved or made dependent by force of law, the great majority are so by force of property; they are still chained to a place, to an occupation, and to conformity with the will of an employer, and debarred by the accident of birth to both the enjoyments, and from the mental and moral advantages, which others inherit without exertion and independently of desert. That this is an evil equal to almost any of those against which mankind have hitherto struggles, the poor are not wrong in believing.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Believe
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Both teachers and learners go to sleep at their post as soon as there is no enemy in the field.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Teacher
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Men and governments must act to the best of their ability. There is no such thing as absolute certainty but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Destiny
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If two or more instances of the phenomenon under investigation have only one circumstance in common, the circumstance in which alone all the instances agree is the cause (or effect) of the given phenomenon.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Science
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It is only in the backward countries of the world that increased production is still an important object.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Country
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In a world in which there is so much to interest, so much to enjoy, and so much also to correct and improve, everyone who has this moderate amount of moral and intellectual requisites is capable of an existence which may be called enviable; and unless such a person, through bad laws, or subjection to the will of others, is denied the liberty to use the sources of happiness within his reach, he will not fail to find the enviable existence
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Law
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Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Government
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There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Political
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Eloquence is heard; poetry is overheard ... All poetry is of the nature of the soliloquy.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Art
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There is one plain rule of life. Try thyself unweariedly till thou findest the highest thing thou art capable of doing, faculties and outward circumstances being both duly considered, and then do it.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Art
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A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes--will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Men
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Education is one of the subjects which most essentially require to be considered by various minds, and from a variety of points of view. For, of all many-sided subjects, it is the one which has the greatest number of sides.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Education
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The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which we are earliest familiar; particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Struggle
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... what is really inspiriting and ennobling in the doctrine of freewill, is the conviction that we have real power over the formation of our own character; that our will, by influencing some of our circumstances, can modify our future habits or capabilities of willing.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Real
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In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Political
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All that makes existence valuable to any one depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Law
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As often as a study is cultivated by narrow minds, they will draw from it narrow conclusions.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Mind
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It often happens that the universal belief of one age of mankind — a belief from which no one was, nor without an extraordinary effort of genius and courage, could at that time be free — becomes to a subsequent age so palpable an absurdity, that the only difficulty then is to imagine how such a thing can ever have appeared credible.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Ideas
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Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Gymnastics
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The application of algebra to geometry ... has immortalized the name of Descartes, and constitutes the greatest single step ever made in the progress of the exact sciences.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Science
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Human beings are no longer born to their place in life...but are free to employ their faculties and such favorable chances as offer, to achieve the lot which may appear to them as desirable.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: May
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However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that, however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Strong
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He who lets the world choose his plan of life for him has need of no other faculty than that of ape-like imitation.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Needs
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It is conceivable that religion may be morally useful without being intellectually sustainable.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Atheism
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Most persons have but a very moderate capacity of happiness. Expecting...in marriage a far greater degree of happiness than they commonly find, and knowing not that the fault is in their own scanty capability of happiness.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Knowing
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The legal subordination of one sex to another - is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a system of perfect equality, admitting no power and privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Sex
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Education makes a man a more intelligent shoemaker, if that be his occupation, but not by teaching him how to make shoes; it does so by the mental exercise it gives, and the habits it impresses.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Teaching
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Strange it is that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free speech but object to their being "pushed to an extreme," not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Men
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Marriage is the only actual bondage known to our law. There remain no legal slaves, except the mistress of every house.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Marriage
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All women are brought up from the very earliest years in the belief that their ideal of character is the very opposite to that of men; not self-will, and government by self-control, but submission and yielding to the control of others. All the moralities tell them that it is their nature to live for others; to make complete abnegation of themselves, and to have no life but in their affections.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Character
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The price paid for intellectual pacification is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of the human mind.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Courage
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Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Happiness
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Is there any moral enormity which might not be justified by imitation of such a Deity?
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Religion
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The peculiarity of the evidence of mathematical truths is that all the argument is on one side.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Sides
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In the human mind, one-sidedness has always been the rule, and many-sidedness the exception. Hence, even in revolutions of opinion, one part of the truth usually sets while another rises.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Mind
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Experience has taught me that those who give their time to the absorbing claims of what is called society, not having leisure to keep up a large acquaintance with the organs of opinion, remain much more ignorant of the general state either of the public mind, or of the active and instructed part of it, than a recluse who reads the newspapers need be.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Giving
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It is given to no human being to stereotype a set of truths, and walk safely by their guidance with his mind's eye closed.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Eye
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Unfortunately for the good sense of mankind, the fact of their fallibility is far from carrying the weight in their practical judgement, which is always allowed to it in theory; for while every one well knows himself to be fallible, few think it necessary to take any precautions against their own fallibility.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Thinking
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Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth for purposes of action.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Liberty
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If it were felt that the free development of individuality is one of the leading essentials of well-being; that it is not only a coordinate element with all that is designated by the terms civilisation, instruction, education, culture, but is itself a necessary part and condition of all those things; there would be no danger that liberty should be undervalued.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Individuality
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My father never permitted anything which I learnt to degenerate into a mere exercise of memory. He strove to make the understanding not only go along with every step of the teaching but...precede it.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Memories
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Laws and systems of polity always begin by recognizing the relations they find already existing between individuals.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Law
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Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Mean
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Miracles have no claim whatever to the character of historical facts and are wholly invalid as evidence of any revelation.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Character
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A state of things in which a large portion of the most active and inquiring intellects find it advisable to keep the genuine principles and grounds of their convictions within their own breasts, and attempt, in what they address to the public, to fit as much as they can of their own conclusions to premises which they have internally renounced, cannot send forth the open, fearless characters, and logical, consistent intellects who once adorned the thinking world.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Character
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Whether moral and social phenomena are really exceptions to the general certainty and uniformity of the course of nature; and how far the methods, by which so many of the laws of the physical world have been numbered among truths irrevocably acquired and universally assented to, can be made instrumental to the gradual formation of a similar body of received doctrine in moral and political science.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Nature
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The United States is no more a Christian nation because most of its citizens are Christians than it is a 'white' nation because most of its citizens are white. We are Americans because we practice democracy and believe in republican government, not because we practice revealed religion and believe in Bible-based government.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Christian
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The feeling of a direct responsibility of the individual to God is almost wholly a creation of Protestantism.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Responsibility
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Every established fact which is too bad to admit of any other defence is always presented to us as an injunction of religion.
- John Stuart Mill
Collection: Religion