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Reviews61 An appreciation of the influences of Carlyle on bourgeois ideology would also help correct the impression created in Rose's text that nineteenth-century paternalism evolved in factories, without any apparent influence from older traditions other than the family itself. The legacy of aristocratic ideals of duty and responsibility and its effects on nineteenth-century bourgeois ideologies of work and class relations are ignored in this study, resulting in a reductive formulation of middle-class culture that inevitably diminishes, and so underestimates, the complexity of class interaction. This in turn weakens the representation of workingclass culture, making it appear as less interesting and less flexible than it was. When Rose analyzes working-class concepts of respectability, for example, she underplays the influence of middle-class culture, admitting only that "some aspects of [working-class] respectability might have been displayed for effect only in the presence of a middle-class audience" (149), a perspective that entirely misses the spunky and creative forms of resistance developed by the working class to define their culture against the hegemony of the bourgeoisie. ARLENE YOUNG Cornell University Wendy Donner. The Liberal Self: John Stuart Mill's Moral and Political Philosophy" . Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991. ? + 225. $35.00 US (cloth); $12.95 (paper). In Canada, the importance of John S. Mill and his ideas of a liberal state still seem to require no defence. We have always been a liberal nation. Mordecai Richler assured us only recently that our 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms "guaranteed us no more, come to think of it, than we have always taken for granted: the right to 'freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication" (Oh Canada! Oh Quebec!, 11). However, after reading Wendy Donner's examination of Mill's ethical and political philosophy, I am wondering whether the time might not have come for an interpretation which provides not only a discussion but an apology of Mill, placing this thinker in the context of his time. As it stands, Donner accepts the priority of Mill as a given. Her work is merely settling the perennial contention over the moral and political core assumption of utilitarian thought, namely, its assumption of selfinterest and self-development as universally central conditions of 62Victorian Review human society. She rejects libertarian interpretations which misinterpret freedom for personal autonomy. Mill's utilitarianism was neither incompatible nor inconsistent with social responsibility (165). Just how it all worked out, however, can only be properly understood against the backdrop of the totality of Millian writing. The emphasis on freedom and the rights of the individual need to be balanced with the "collective, social democratic pole" (165) in his thought. "People are crucial to Mill's system" (88). Donner points out that Mill's prolific output was motivated by "theoretical commitment to selfdevelopment " and that the theme of the good runs through all his writing. Egotism and irresponsibility are to him the product of a "want of mental cultivation". Only the uneducated would care "for nobody but themselves" (175). Mill, however, remains always inside the utilitarian camp. Donner illustrates that the difference between John S. Mill and Jeremy Bentham, consists in the former's addition of value and quality to the latter's "felicific calculus" (177-8). The shift from a quantitive to a qualitative hedonism takes place without abandonment of the utilitarian foundations. Mill merely supplements Bentham's "notorious proof (29) with a "complex mental state account of utility". His "doctrine of development and self-development" (36) constitutes an enhancement not an abandonment of Bentham's associationist psychology. The success or failure of the liberal system in political practice, however, is another story. Indeed, it is one which seems to engage Mill as much if not more than that of the "good". This success depends not so much on liberalism's superior logic but on its guidelines for a "public procedure". Society must bear the "cost of duty" (36) and provide the conditions which allow individuals to become "developed agents" of various, "interpersonal" interests, as Donner puts it in this rather peculiar rhetoric which dominates the text. Only these individuals "have the best chance...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 61-64
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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