Mill on History

In Christopher Macleod & Dale E. Miller (eds.), A Companion to Mill. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 266–278 (2016)
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In this chapter, I offer a reading of Mill's theory of history. Mill maintains some views about history which we typically associate with the eighteenth century – most obviously, a concern for charting the natural stages of development through which societies must pass in the process of civilization. But he also moves towards doctrines associated with the historicists of the nineteenth century. He believes in the historical variability of human nature, the need to understand historical periods in their own terms, and of progress driven not according to timeless laws but by an inner principle of development. As with so many other things, Mill's view of history is guided by an attempt to reconcile and combine the best of eighteenth‐century British philosophy with nineteenth‐century Continental developments.



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Christopher Macleod
Lancaster University

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John Stuart mill.Fred Wilson - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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