Sample Literature Review On J.S Mill

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Question one

The nature versus nurture concept attracts a series of controversies from various psychologists such as J.S. Mill. Consequently, the concept of nature implies that biological factors and genetic inheritance determine human’s behavior and thoughts. On the other hand, the concept of nurture signifies that external factors and environment of a child such as learning experience would dictate the child’s behavior and way of thought. The nature vs nurture controversy, therefore regards the contribution of the two influences towards human behavior. Mill, for instance, states “. ready to learn and to unlearn either from its own thoughts and the thoughts of others” (1989, par. 3). In addition, Mill states that “is a desire to make acknowledgement of the debts which my intellectual and moral development owes to other persons” (1989, par. 4).

Question Two

In the nature vs nurture controversy, Mill supports nurture or empiricism, and implies that various environmental and external factors would play a role in determining a child’s behavior in future. In addition, he supports radical empiricism owing to mathematics and logic, suggesting that the principles of the two disciplines emanate from experience and the surrounding, rather than a priori. In his biography, for instance, he claims: “my own conscience and experience ultimately led me to appreciate quite as high as he did the value of an early practical familiarity” (Mill, 1989, par. 15). In addition, he states, “the only thing besides Greek, that I learnt in this part of my childhood was arithmetic” (Mill, 1989, par. 12). Furthermore, Mill states: “he also made me read, and give him verbal account of, many books” (1989, par. 13).

Question Three

Mill’s position on the concept of nature versus nurture is logic, since a child’s experiences and his environment that includes the family, play a great role in the child’s behavior (Keller, 2010, p. 16).
Mill’s intelligence therefore attributes to his father, who influenced and motivated him to learn and adopt basic mathematics principles during his childhood. He claims, for instance, “my father, in all his teaching, demanded of me not only the utmost that I could do” (Mill, 1989, par. 21). Additionally, apart from the family, various environmental factors may shape a child’s behavior. Education would consequently lead to a child’s acquisition of skills, knowledge, and principles that are not innate or natural (Keller, 2010, p. 15).


Keller, E. F. (2010). The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture. Durham: Duke University Press.
Mill, J. (1989). Autobiogrpahy. New York, NY: Penguin.


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