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Taylor, Harriet (1807–58)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC080-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2020
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Harriet Taylor (1807–58) was a British philosopher and political reformer, most famous (to posterity) for marrying John Stuart Mill. Her best-known single-authored work is Enfranchisement of Women (1851), which argues for female suffrage. Mill counted her as his co-author on several key texts, beginning with involvement with core elements of Principles of Political Economy and culminating in complete and equal collaboration on On Liberty. Taylor was primarily concerned with questions of social reform, including women’s rights, recognising and ending domestic violence, and curtailing the coercive power of public opinion; economic reform, including towards socialism; and political reform, including extending the franchise. An early version of Mill’s famous ‘harm principle’ can be found in her manuscripts. She was also interested in ethics, developing a qualitative form of utilitarianism. She wrote passionately against injustice, oppression, intolerance, and inequality, and in favour of liberty, happiness, social justice, and women’s rights. She died in Avignon on 3 November 1858. Mill is buried in the same grave.

Citing this article:
McCabe, Helen. Taylor, Harriet (1807–58), 2020, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC080-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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