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Lecture

SOAN 2112 Lecture Notes - John Stuart Mill, The Subjection Of Women, On Liberty


Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2112
Professor
Linda Hunter

Page:
of 3
January 25, 2013 SOAN 2111/2 L. HUNTER
Harriet Taylor (1807) AND John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
Background
- Taylor’s and Mill’s were Unitarians = politically liberal
o Both sympathetic to many causes
o Emphasize freedom and tolerance and religious belief, and the
economy of congregations
- Harriet Taylor was married and had children, and was perplexed by many
philosophical questions and her husband could not discuss them with me
- Still married to Taylor how to think, not what to think but how
- Socrete’s gave us a method by which to dvelop a very clear thinking mind
o Mill said we need to have more ways of thinking
- Taylor influences Mill on The Subjection of Women
o and providing the leading ideas of Mill on the great idea of liberty
- Mll and Taylor also very mnuch interested in the freedom of women and the
liberty for all
- How to free many without suppressing few was the question of Mill and
Taylor’s academic union
- Her first husband died (taylor’s)
- Mill and Taylor Mill died enroute to their honeymoon of congestion
- Mill parliament in 1867 trying to get women to vote spoke about violence
against women and rights for women
o Taylor was more the radical analysis in the articles the two wrote
together
- Mill claimed teat Harriet was the sole author of Dissertations and Discussions
and the joint author of Principles of Political Economy and On Liberty
- Her husband Mr. Taylor (the one who died) for bayed her to be recognized as
an author because that just wasn’t done
- Mill dedicated a whole thing to Harriet Taylor which made Mr. Taylor upset
when he was alive
METHODOLOGY
- Mill and Taylor took great pains and on liberty to use inclusive language (not
mankind, not using the word ‘he’)
- Mill realized that most men could not even imagine living with an ‘equal’
- Taylor was a main source of Mill’s own feminism
- In the tradition of Locke- Mill said our ideas have nothing but our past
experience put into them
- Prediction would be less exact in the moral than the physical
- Historical explanation subject to general laws interested in laws, stats, the
effect of a given cause
- Interested in laws to determine effect of a given cause such as the abolition of
the monarchy, or the introduction of universal suffrage
- A system argues that people were shaped by external conditions, but also
influenced them people shaped by external conditions of society but
January 25, 2013 SOAN 2111/2 L. HUNTER
shaped by what influences these external conditions we mold and shape
the circumstances for themselves
- Character is formed both ‘by’ as well as ‘for’ us, by experience
- Distinguished mere empirical laws, from genuine, scientific or causal laws
- To turn empirical laws into scientific ones meant connecting them
deductively
- Often only generalization as possible
- To predict any effect in the social world one had to know all its causes and
how they interacted
- Inductive specific to general
- Deductive general to specific
EMMA film ***
- upper class and lower class in England at the time of Taylor and Mills writing
- at a picnic with a lot of snotty women Emma is usually gentle and kind but
she snaps about a poorer women who is at the picnic her friend reprimands
her for freaking out to the poor women whom always thought Emma was a
friend of hers
- connects to Taylor and Mills writing about treating everyone in society as
equals
PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
- in this they treated the propoer role and limits to government
- advocated public education, labour laws, public health measures, the
protection of young persons and animals, social assistance
SUBJECTION OF WOMEN
- sexual equality
- subordination of women rests on ‘might is right’
- relational property
- women need equality of opportunity in all respects it is not women’s nature
that keeps them where they are
- rape, violence it all happened at this time against women
- Mills wrote about divorce
ON LIBERTY
- threatened basic civil liberties defense of fundamental freedoms
o Mills if one person dissents in terms of civil liberties it is
problematic
- if only one person dissents, the majority is no more justified in silencing that
one person…
o great quote in terms of early consensus models in politics
- no one is infallible
- free expression of opinion freedom of individuals to act upon their opinions
o society has no right to hinder the actions of individuals or groups
January 25, 2013 SOAN 2111/2 L. HUNTER
o individuals and groups act at their own risks but actions that harm
others do require justification of society
- three objections raised to government interference by Mill and Taylor:
o individuals better to deal with matters
o advances their own mental education
o ‘the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power’
CONCLUSION
- Mill wrote at same times as Marx but did not know that his work was pre-
Marxist but Marx overtakes
- Century and a half later Mill and Taylor seemed really irrelevant rights of
women, civil rights, slavery
- Mill influenced Weber and Marx