John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works.
references to botanical systems and arrangements.  Most botanists agree with Mr. Mill in his objections to Dr. Whewell’s views of a natural classification by resemblance to “types,” instead of in accordance with well-selected characters; and indeed the whole of these chapters are well deserving the careful study of naturalists, notwithstanding that the wonderfully rapid progress in recent years of new ideas, lying at the very root of all the natural sciences, may be thought by some to give the whole argument, in spite of its logical excellence, a somewhat antiquated flavor.  How fully Mr. Mill recognized the great importance of the study of biological classifications, and the influence such a study must have had on himself, may be judged from the following quotation:—­

“Although the scientific arrangements of organic nature afford as yet the only complete example of the true principles of rational classification, whether as to the formation of groups or of series, those principles are applicable to all cases in which mankind are called upon to bring the various parts of any extensive subject into mental co-ordination.  They are as much to the point when objects are to be classed for purposes of art or business as for those of science.  The proper arrangement, for example, of a code of laws, depends on the same scientific conditions as the classifications in natural history; nor could there be a better preparatory discipline for that important function than the study of the principles of a natural arrangement, not only in the abstract, but in their actual application to the class of phenomena for which they were first elaborated, and which are still the best school for learning their use.  Of this, the great authority on codification, Bentham, was perfectly aware; and his early ‘Fragment on Government,’ the admirable introduction to a series of writings unequalled in their department, contains clear and just views (as far as they go) on the meaning of a natural arrangement, such as could scarcely have occurred to any one who lived anterior to the age of Linnaeus and Bernard de Jussieu” (System of Logic, ed. 6, ii., p. 288).

Henry Trimen.



Mr. Mill’s achievements as an economist, logician, psychologist, and politician are known more or less vaguely to all educated men; but his capacity and his actual work as a critic are comparatively little regarded.  In the three volumes of his collected miscellaneous writings, very few of the papers are general reviews either of books or of men; and even these volumes derive their character from the essays they contain on the severer subjects with which Mr. Mill’s name has been more peculiarly associated.  Nobody buys his “Dissertations and Discussions” for the sake of his theory of poetry, or his essays on Armand Carrel and Alfred de Vigny, noble though

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John Stuart Mill; His Life and Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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