Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back to Mill

We've been discussing John Stuart Mill's On Liberty recently in one of the grad seminars I teach. This led me to happen upon this recent essay on Mill by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker in the form of a review of Richard Reeves' new book, John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand. It's a good essay, a rather sweeping biographical piece with some focus on Mill's love, Harriet Taylor, and Mill's feminism. A quick snippet:
The mature Mill is a stable thinker but not a systematic one. He recognizes the existence of half-truths alongside near-truths, and of “almost so”s right by “yes, nearly”s. “Truth, in the great practical concerns of life, is so much a question of the reconciling and combining of opposites,” he once wrote. “Even progress, which ought to superadd, for the most part only substitutes, one partial and incomplete truth for another.”

1 comment:

MT said...

I'd like to think that a lot of those New Yorker essays are quality. I haven't read that one yet.