John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) was a British philosopher and economist who is most famous for being a co-founder of Utilitarianism. He developed the concept of Utilitarianism that Jeremy Bentham had started.
Mill was brilliant from his youth. He began studying Greek at age 3 and by age 17 he completed advanced study of Greek civilization, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, and law. His father, John Mill, was a disciple of Jeremy Bentham.
Like Bentham, John Stuart Mill promoted the utilitarian view that actions were right and true if they made living conditions better for most people.
Mill modified Bentham’s Utilitarianism. While agreeing in general with Bentham’s views, Mill was afraid that Bentham’s Utilitarianism could lead to “the tyranny of the majority” in which minority groups were susceptible to persecution by the majority. For example, if the majority decided that gypsies were bad for society, gypsies could be subject to persecution. Mill did not want this. Mill, therefore, made provision for individual freedom and argued that minority groups should be protected from majority oppression. Mill believed a pluralistic society was good and that all ideas should be heard.
Mill had a great impact on English society. He fought for the rights of women including their right to vote. He also advocated equal educational opportunities for women. In line with his utilitarianism, Mill thought bringing equality to women would also help men and society in general.