The following passage from Mill’s Autobiography is taken from Marshall Cohen’s Modern Library edition of Mill’s philosophical writings. — George P. Landow

Decorated initial T

he German, or a priori view of human knowledge, and of the knowing faculties, is likely for some time longer (though it may be hoped in a diminishing degree) to predominate among those who occupy themselves with such inquiries, both here and on the Continent. . . . whatever may be the practical value of a true philosophy of these matters, it is hardly possible to exaggerate the mischiefs of a false one. The notion that truths external to the mind may be known by intuition or consciousness independently of observation and experience, is, I am persuaded, in these times, the great intellectual support of false doctrines and bad institutions. By the aid of this theory, every inveterate belief and every intense feeling, of which the origin is not remembered, is enabled to dispense with the obligation of justifying itself by reason, and is erected into its own all-sufficient voucher and justification. There never was such an instrument devised for consecrating all deep-seated prejudices. [xvi-xvii; emphasis added]

Related material


Mill, John Stuart. The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill: Ethical, Political and Religious. Marshall Cohen, ed. New York: Modern Library, 1961.

Last modified 16 June 2019