Mirror, Mirror: The Uses and Abuses of Self-Love by Simon Blackburn Princeton University Press 4 stars Louis Lee For Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn, the "Because you're worth it" advertisement of cosmetics company L'Oréal is such a moral eyesore that it prompted him to explore the many facets of self-love - one of which is inherent in said slogan. Hence this book. Blackburn first argues for the social (we need to distinguish among others), and hence moral (we gauge our behaviour in relation to that of others), nature of the self. Then he explains his distaste for the advertising slogan because it exploits our vain desire for a superiority that is illusive, and it also plays on our fragile self-esteem. Blackburn next turns psychological, and offers a treatise of the causes and dangers of hubris - self-esteem gone exceedingly awry, a contemporary malaise particularly found among politicians. A distinction between good self-esteem and bad self-esteem can be made - the former, "honest self-interest" required for well-being; the latter, relative evaluation of the self. (Strangely enough, we also learn in this chapter that Blackburn does not have a terribly high opinion of psychologists). A good sort of self-love is self-respect: pride in exercising self-control to live up to the categorical imperative. Pride, however, is also central to wrongdoing: allowing us to succum to temptation. Lastly he points to authenticity as our moral compass after the demise of God, since authenticity underwrites sincerity, a necessary quality of the good self. Beyond examining self-love, Blackburn also provides a parallel critical view of a contemporary society that is awash with excessive self-love, and he urges us to contemplate the cultural nature of self-love: in essence, how we may avoid abusing self-love. Therefore, despite the author's attempts to downplay the prescriptive side of the subject, there is a moral stance here. While Blackburn's writing is more often than not cheery, the subject matter hardly makes for light reading. Nonetheless the book is rather worth the effort.