Mr Hermans not only demonstrates that utilitarianism is much more interesting and wide ranging than is commonly assumed, he also shows that it is not justified to criticise Mill for being an ‘unsystematic’ thinker. (…) The Mill that Mr Hermans presents in his erudite and excellently written book made great demands on himself, such as ordinary mortals could never satisfy; however, he also was a very prolific and stimulating philosopher, who but little resembled the wooden Victorian schoolmaster looking down on us in photographs and paintings.
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.