It’s his merit that he has placed Darwin himself clearly in the foreground as originator of the debate on social evolution in the second half of the nineteenth century. Against this there is the drawback that Mr Hermans has not resisted the temptation to walk every side-road he encountered in his long trail of study. He needs quite a lot of space to both distinguish and connect all the diverse currents. (…) In spite of these critical remarks, in my final verdict appreciation for this clever piece of work of Mr Hermans takes precedence.
Cor Hermans discovered in Mill first of all the passionate rationalist, with an open eye for the moral and institutional shortcomings of democracy. His quest for ‘liberation through reason’ still is, and very much so, a topical subject … It will take you some long evenings to make yourself familiar with the Mill that Mr Hermans outlined. But it will be a rewarding experience. A refreshing view on Mill and an interestingly written history of ideas of the nineteenth century, including the striking notion that a merciless striving for personal gain is not everything, as we know by now, having suffered the banking crisis of overextended loans.