Mill's art of life

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Towards the end of A System of Logic, John Stuart Mill makes some intriguing, suggestive, and neglected claims about what he calls “The Art of Life”. Despite the comparatively little attention that the Art of Life has received in the extensive scholarly literature on Mill, it turns out to be extremely important to understanding his moral philosophy and his practical philosophy more generally. It reveals Mill to be a considerably more subtle philosopher than it would otherwise seem. It also insulates him from many unwarranted criticisms. In this entry I proceed by picking out some elements of Mill's discussion of the Art of Life, explaining them and then examining their significance. These include the metaethical distinction between sciences and arts, the relation between the art of life and morality, and the significance of his art of life in understanding normative ethical views, such as those defended in Utilitarianism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Mill
EditorsChristopher Macleod, Dale E. Miller
Place of PublicationChichester
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781118736463, 9781118736364, 9781118736739
ISBN (Print)9781118736524
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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