By John Stuart Mill

バウリング版ベンタム全集が刊行に際して、 J・S・ミルが1838年に London and Westminster Reviewに投稿した書評。 `Remarks on Bentham's Philosophy' と同様、ベンタムの思想についてのかなり手厳しい評価がなされている。


Great Reformer in Philosophy

[H]e was not a great philosopher, but he was a great reformer in philosophy. It was not his doctrines..., it was his mode of arriving at them. He introduced into morals and politics those habits of thought and modes of investigation, which are essential to the idea of science.... It was not his opinions, in short, but his method, that constituted the novelty and the value of what he did...

Poor Understanding of Other Philosophers

Bentham failed in deriving light from other minds. His writings contain few traces of the accurate knowledge of any schools of thiking but his own .... In almost the only passage of the `Deontology' ... Socrates, and Plato are spoken of in terms distressing to his greatest admirers; and the incapacity to appreciate such men, is a fact perfectly in unison with the general habits of Bentham's mind.

[cf. similar remarks in `Remarks on Bentham's Philosophy']

One-Eyed Man

For our own part, we have a large tolerance for one-eyed men, provided their one eye is a penetrating one: if they saw more, they probably would not see so keenly, nor so eagerly pursue one course of inquiry. Almost all rich veins of original and striking speculation have been opened by systematic half-thinkers.

Augean Stable

Bentham's speculations, as we are already aware, began with law; and in that department he accomplished his greatest triumphs. He found the philosophy of law a chaos, he left it a science: he found the practice of the law an Augean stable, he turned the river into it which is mining and sweeping away mound after mound of its rubbish.

Failure to Understand the Tyranny of the Majority

Is it, at all times and places, good for mankind to be under the absolute authority of the majority of themselves? We say the authority, not the political authority merely, because it is chimerical to suppose that whatever has absolute power over men's bodies will not arrogate it over their minds -- will seek to control (not perhaps by legal penalties, but by the persecutions of society) opinions and feelings which depart from its standard; will not attempt to shape the education of the young by its model, and to extinguish all books, all schools, all combinations of individuals for joint action upon society, which may be attempted for the purpose of keeping alive a spirit at variance with its own. Is it, we say, the proper condition of man, in all ages and nations, to be under the despotism of Public Opinion?

[cf. On Liberty, ch. 1; Representative Government, ch. 6]

Against Poetry

[T]owards poety in the narrower sense, that which employs the language of words, he entertained no favour. Words, he thought, were perverted from their proper office when they were employed in uttering anything but precise logical truth. He says, somewhere in his works, that, `quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry': but this is only a paradoxical way of stating what he would equally have said of the things which he most valued and admired. Another aphorism is attributed to him, which is much more characteristic of his view of this subject: `All poetry is misrepresentation'.


KODAMA Satoshi <kodama@ethics.bun.kyoto-u.ac.jp>
Last modified: Sun Jan 25 18:24:52 JST 2004