Harriet Taylor Mill

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019

Publication Title

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy






Harriet Taylor Mill (1807–1858) poses a unique set of problems for an encyclopedist. The usual approach to writing an entry on a historical figure, namely presenting a straightforward summary of her major works and then offering a few words of appraisal, cannot be carried out in her case. This is because she worked in such close collaboration with John Stuart Mill that it is exceedingly difficult to disentangle her contributions to the products of their joint effort from his, and the few pieces that we can declare without fear of contradiction to have been written primarily by her—some of which are published, some not—are philosophically slight. In attempting to assess Taylor Mill's philosophical career, one encounters sharply conflicting reports about her intellect from people who knew her, contradictory evidence about what if any important philosophical works belong to her corpus as an author, and widely varying judgments about how much influence she exerted on Mill's thought and work.


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Copyright © 2019 by Dale E. Miller

Original Publication Citation

Miller, Dale E., "Harriet Taylor Mill", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .


0000-0002-8946-0040 (Miller)