I’m beginning a semester today with John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism. I like to inform the students of these facts before we begin delving into the philosophy:
[Mill] began to learn Greek at three and Latin at eight. By the age of fourteen he had read most of the Greek and Latin classics, had made a wide survey of history, had done extensive work in logic and mathematics, and had mastered the basics of economic theory.
Given this, it really is quite amazing that Mill allowed himself to write the following sentence in the second paragraph of Utilitarianism:
All action is for the sake of some end, and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and colour from the end to which they are subservient.
Mill doesn’t deign to stop and explain himself. This just astounds me. But then again, if he had, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write “Everybody loves somebody” on the blackboard at the beginning of each semester.