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SOAN 2112 (90)
Lecture 3


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Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

WEEK 3 READINGS – CHAPTER 12 – HARRIET TAYLOR AND JOHN STUART MILL – SOAN 2111/2 - John Stuart Mill credited Harriet Taylor with having made a major contribution to his on scholarly work - His great love was F.A. Hayek – she was the first to recognize that there was no exaggeration in Mill’s portrait and that Harriet Taylor may properly be regarded as one of the major figures who shaped the thinking of the later Victorian Era - Born Harriet Hardy – perhaps her less than happy home life which drove her into early marriage with John Taylor o Couple shared a liberal political outlook - Harriet Taylor had been perplexed by a number of philosophical problems, and that since her husband lacked intellectual competence in such matters, she had no one with whom to discuss them – Fox resolved to introduce her to John Mill, a well-known Radical, rightly suspected of free-thinking tendencies - Mll went to din with Harriet and John Taylor in their home - Mill shared John Taylor’s sympathy and enthusiasm for aiding political reugees; and he formed a warm sentiment for Harriet Taylor that certainly went beyond their common intellectual interests, though he immediately recognized the superior capacities of her mind - The aim of their education was how to think, not what to think - Harriet Taylor had written that: o “…no matter what the species, the spirit is the same…. What is called the opinion of society is… a combination of the many weak, against the few strong: an association of the mentally listless to punish many manifestation of mental independence. The remedy is, to make all strong enough to stand alone; and whoever has once known the pleasure of self-dependence, will be in no danger of relapsing into subserviency. - Mill’s essay “The Subjection of Women” and his other essay “On Liberty” – Mill gave Taylor full credit for her contribution to both great works, maintaining that both works should be regarded as products of their joint effort and collaboration. - Two missions in the lives of Taylor and Mill – they were the emancipation of women and the enhancement of liberty for all. How to free the many without repressing the extraordinary few was the central moral question - Mill wrote o “the poor… tendered to them as equals, and accepted by them with their eyes open. The prospect of the future depends on the degree in which they can be made rational beings.” - Mill proposed to preface his book to Taylor o Harriet felt immensely honored – she recognized she sought to consult her husband who, being already quite embarrassed at the closeness of her relationship with Mill, urged her to reject Milll’s offer so as to prevent talk that would be extremely unpleasant. o The dedication was confined to a few gift copies WEEK 3 READINGS – CHAPTER 12 – HARRIET TAYLOR AND JOHN STUART MILL – SOAN 2111/2 o Third edition of 1852 – the inscription was omitted altogether – by that time, John Taylor had died and Harriet had married Mill, so the dedication, she believed, was no longer appropriate o Mill became overwhelmed by feelings of intellectual inadequacy  With her love and encouragement, however, he recovered his self-confidence sufficiently to produce a series of newspaper articles about specific injustices inflicted by society on its weaker members: “corporal punishment”, “punishment of children”, “wife-murder” and more. o He acknowledged that these creations were ‘very little mine’; and eventually he described them as a ‘joint production with my wife, like all my newspaper articles on similar subjects, and most of my articles on all subjects” - Mill was suffering from tuberculosis o At first he tried to keep the news from Harriet, for she had had similar symptoms and was trying to heal herself in the warm Mediterranean air. o When she returned to England in April, they both recognized the possibility of an early death for either of them, and he resolved to accomplish as much as possible with her help. - First draft of the “autobiography”, which they both regarded as a sacred project o Mill wrote to Harriet,  “I shall never be satisfied unless you allow our best book, the book which is to come, to have our two names on the title page” - Mill himself stated that principle in the ‘autobiography’ o “when two persons have their thoughts and speculations completely in common… it is of little consequence in respect to the question of originality which of them holds the pen.” - Harriet died at Avignon on November 3 – November 30 Mill wrote to his publisher informing him that his little book ‘on liberty’ was ready for publication – now that Harriet was gone, no further revisions were possible - The Mills therefore insisted that society, in its own best interest must encourage minority opinions - Original minds have one thing in common; they are always in the minority. THE SUBJECTION OF WOMEN - the truth is that the subordination of the physically weaker sex by the stronger, rests on a theory that has never been tested in the light of alternative. Worse, it rests on the morally despicable notion that might is right. - A social fact was thus converted into a legal right, giving it the sanction of society. In that way those who were already forced to obey became legally bound to do so. Slavery is a case point: the power of the masters over their WEEK 3 READINGS – CHAPTER 12 – HARRIET TAYLOR AND JOHN STUART MILL – SOAN 2111/2 slaves became ‘legitimized’ through a compact among the masters who bound themselves to one another for their common protection. - The Mills propose that the condition of women is a primitive form of slavery lasting on, albeit in a milder form. - Throughout history, legal power was obtained by those who first possessed the material means of realizing their will against the resistance of others. Those who controlled such means seldom relinquished their hold upon them until they were compelled to do so by a more powerful adversary. - But the condition of women is such, the Mills argued, that it is highly unlikely that they will organize themselves collectively to rebel against the power of men. The position of women is quite different from that of other subject classes. The masters of women demand something more from them than mere service. Men want not only obedience of women, but also their love and affection. All men desire that the women most closely associated with them should be not forced slaves, but willing ones. This has been accomplished through an enslavement of women’s minds. The masters of other slaves instill
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