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As a child, John Stuart Mill (1806–1873) was a guinea pig for an extraordinary system of education devised by his father James Mill, who was an associate of the utilitarian Jeremy Bentham and an important social thinker and philosopher in his own right. James hoped to make his eldest son a leading thinker in the next generation of the Benthamite Philosophical Radicals. John began studying classical Greek at the age of three and Latin at the age of eight. At eight, he also began teaching his younger siblings. He was isolated from other children, and his mother played little part in his life. By 14, he had read most of the well-known works of classical civilization, made a wide survey of history, and had worked ...

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