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John Stuart Mill: Ethics - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
A major issue confronting the British in India was to formulate proper policies for education, language, and culture, and at the India House Mill had to deal with these. He witnessed with disapproval the attempt of Lord Bentinck and Thomas Macaulay to downgrade the study of Oriental languages and philosophy and exalt that of English literature, thought, and science. Bentinck and Macaulay desired to impose on India an unmistakable English image, and in particular emphasized the necessity of useful knowledge. On these matters Mill followed a moderate course, free from much of the dogmatism of his father and utilitarian friends. He thought that education for Indians as for Englishmen should foster the self-development and social progress integral to his concept of liberty. Since the state must play a positive part in promoting the country’s material advances, an educated Indian élite must be developed, who would help the English to govern India, interpret western ideas to its many millions, create equality under the law, eradicate racial discrimination, and establish a foundation for the society’s material and intellectual progress. In principle Mill opposed any aggressive cultural imperialism, such as attempts to discard India’s scholarship and ignore its learned class. He saw no reason for Indians to jettison their entire cultural tradition and inheritance and doubted that they could be induced to do so. Their vernacular languages must be respected and cultivated as the indispensable means whereby the bulk of the people could assimilate useful ideas from Britain and Europe. He had little sympathy for missionaries who wanted to proselytize India or impose practices repugnant to the religious feelings of its people (570).
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There are many editions of Mill's more popular andinfluential works, including many of his writings in moral andpolitical philosophy. The definitive edition of Mill'swritings is Collected Works of John Stuart Mill [CW],33 volumes, ed. J. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1965–91) and .In order to facilitate common reference among readers using differenteditions of his most commonly read texts—Utilitarianism,On Liberty, A System of Logic, and Principles ofPolitical Economy—I will refer to those works using naturaldivisions in his texts, such as chapter, section, and/orparagraph. Otherwise, I will refer to Mill's works usingpagination in his Collected Works. I refer to thefollowing works, employing the associated abbreviations.