Sympathy and Self-Interest: The Crisis in Mill's Mental History*

Michele Greena1

a1 York University

John Stuart Mill's crisis of 1826 has received a great deal of attention from scholars. This attention results from reflection on the importance of the crisis to Mill's mature thought. Did the crisis signal rejection or revision of Benthamism? Or did it have little or no effect on Mill's view of his intellectual inheritance? Ultimately, an interpretation of the cause and resolution of the crisis is integral to an understanding of the nature of Mill's moral and social philosophy. Scholars, in their zeal to understand Mill's crisis, have suggested various reasons for both the onset of the crisis and the recovery. Yet Mill's own perception of his crisis has often been overlooked or rejected.


* I wish to thank Profs. Sydney Eisen and John Robson for their most helpful criticisms and suggestions.