Thursday, November 20, 2008

J.S. Mill

So I'm rereading a chapter of Mill's On Individuality and though I always resist liking Mill because everything just a little bit too wrapped in up in a nice little package with a beautiful bow and I always get a sense of "why didn't anyone else (hint, hint Aristotle, Kant, Plato) come up with this before it's just soooo obvious" when I read his stuff, I have to say I always have and probably always will love On Liberty. I think it's less the details and more his conception of what it means to be human, fully human. And in this area he is certainly not saying anything different from what every philosopher before and since has said. But the focus on working to really be who we can be and not settle for what we could get away with and survive on always gives me a bit of a rush.

Of course, I do believe that he's a bit overly optimistic in the power of individuals but I also think he's right on about the force of society in developing or discouraging true individuality.

This piece (I'm reading chapter 3) reminds me of the Monique Wittig quote "I am not telling women to be happy only do you know that you are capable of happiness."

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