“When we consider either the history of opinion or the ordinary conducf of human life, to what is it to be ascribed that the one and the other are no worse than they are?”
I am confused by what this quote means. The source of my confusion lies in “no worse than they are” and ambiguity as to whether the history of both opinion and conduct is being referred to or just opinion.
“[N]o worse than they are” refers, I believe, to both opinions and forms of human conduct. We know this because he says “[w]hen we consider either…”: the ‘either’ implies that his thought will refer to both sets of things.
Mill is saying that we cannot really know what opinions and what forms of human conduct – in the history of opinions and human conduct – are better or worse than they (actually) are.