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By Bernard Bosanquet

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It is critical throughout; it desires to establish degrees of value, degrees of reality, degrees of completeness and coherence. Its purpose might be termed “Ethical,” but for the extreme narrowness of the meaning of that term. Society, for it, is an achievement or utterance of human nature— of course not divorced from nature in general—having a certain degree of solidity, so to speak; that is to say, being able, up to a certain point, to endure the tests and answer the questionings which are suggested by the scrutiny of human life from the point of view of value and completeness.

It has shown us the crowning achievements of the human race, their States, their Religion, their Fine Art, and their Science, as the high-water mark of tendencies that have their beginnings far back in the primitive organic world, and in their original sources have also a connection with each other—as in the practical aspects of religion,—which too easily escapes notice in their high- The Philosophical Theory of the State/31 est individual development. The “return to nature” and the “noble savage” have been invested with a significance which can never be forgotten, and which criticism can never set aside.

We should rather anticipate that it would leave an easy opening for a transition from administrative nihilism to administrative absolutism; and some such transition seems to have taken place in Mill’s later views.

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