Frederick Rosen

Character, "Ethology" and Politics in John Stuart Mill

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Keywords: Character, Art-and-Science, Politics

This paper focuses on Mill's enterprise of building a science of character, called "ethology". Notwithstanding the enthusiasm Mill had for the prospects of such a new science, he never developed it. The methodological assumptions Mill posited at the roots of his science of character are emphasized (also by comparing Mill's and Bentham's views on the distinction between art and science and the method to be used in politics). Then, Mill's characterization of individual and national character is analysed, showing how these notions work within the arguments for representative government contained in Mill's Considerations on Representative Government.

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