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The Ethological Fiasco: The Methodological Shortcomings Of The Millian Science Of The Formation Of Character

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces what John Stuart Mill took to be his positive contribution to the sexual equality debate, namely his theorization of ethology or the science of the formation of character. It underlines the centrality of ethology in Mill's thought. The chapter explains in what sense ethology can be understood as a reform science and in what sense this characterization provides an adequate interpretative hypothesis for the interpretation of Book VI of the System of Logic. It analyzes the methodology proper to ethology and reviews some rationales for Mill's failure to develop his ethology. The chapter concludes by pointing out textual evidence that might have definitively convinced Mill that his conception of ethology could not deliver what he expected from it.

Keywords: ethology; John Stuart Mill; sexual equality; System of Logic



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