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Abstract

Many scholars envisage Mill’s crisis as the mental manifestation of his Oedipus complex. Indeed, a close examination of the Autobiography reveals the internal tension between filial piety and Mill’s willingness to be mentally independent of his father. But mere psychoanalytic scrutiny of Mill’s crisis overlooks the important role of this event, which signals the transitional point of his intellectual trajectory and justifies his revision of Bentham’s utilitarianism. This paper tries to analyze Mill’s tactic in his Autobiography. By portraying himself as the victim of psychological failings of Bentham and James Mill, John Mill justifies his revision of classical utilitarianism. And the “self” orientation pervades his moral philosophy and political thought.

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