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Jeremy BENTHAM

Jeremy Bentham was a British moral philosopher and legal theorist, the earliest expounder of utilitarianism.

Background

  • BENTHAM, Jeremy was born in 1748 in London, England.

  • Education

    • He began to study Latin at the age of three.He attended Westminster School and, in 1760, at age 12.

      He was sent by his father to The Queen's College, Oxford, where he completed his Bachelor's degree in 1763 and his Master's degree in 1766. He trained as a lawyer and, though he never practised, was called to the bar in 1769. He became deeply frustrated with the complexity of the English legal code, which he termed the "Demon of Chicane".

      He was trained for the law, but was unhappy in this pursuit and determined to devote his life to the correction of the abuses and faults which he found in the social, legal, and political system. In facing the problems of reforming society, Bentham constantly found it necessary to unify and justify his contentions, and thus he became an ethical philosopher, not from predisposition but from practical need.

    Career

    • Bentham is remembered both as a pioneer of social science and as a tireless advocate of administrative, legal and parliamentary reform. He found in the principle of utility, and in particular in his notorious ‘felicific calculus’, an exact standard by which questions of reform could be settled. The reforms he pressed for were directed towards his four ends of good government: subsistence, abundance, security and equality.

      He interpreted the economics of Adam Smith in the light of the search for abundance and advocated a state which provided guaranteed employment, minimum wages and a variety of social benefits. Much of his influence on ideas and legislation was through a small but enthusiastic circle of pupils and disciples, amongst whom were many economists, including Ricardo, and James and John Stuart Mill. Only a small portion of his vast literary output was published in his own lifetime, and a complete edition of his works projected in 36 volumes is still in preparation.

      Even his strictly economic writings, a small part of the whole, contain many remarkable contributions that have only come to be properly appreciated in recent times.

    Major achievements

    • Called to the bar, 1817.

    Works

    • A fragment on government being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government
    • A fragment on government being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government in general in the introduction to Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries: : With a preface, in which is given a critique of the work at large This book, "A fragment on government being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government", by Jeremy Bentham, is a replication of a book originally published before 1776.

    Politics

    He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical. Much of Bentham's work was thus directed to writing codes, or simple coherent and understandable bodies of laws. Codes drawn up by him were adopted in whole or in part by France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal, India, Australia, Canada, other countries of Europe and South America, and several states of the United States. Realizing that to make democracy work, and to further the individual's efforts to attain both private and social good, education and information must be widespread, Bentham was instrumental in founding the University of London and in improving the school system. He also did much to inaugurate civil service, improve governmental mechanics, provide efficient law courts, institute a police force, and support other changes to such an extent that Sir Henry Maine remarked: "I do not know a single law reform effected since Bentham's day which cannot be traced to his influence."

    Party affiliation: Tory Party

    Religion

    Denomination: Christian

    Views

    Elements of his philosophy were derived from David Hume and Helvetius; less important ones from Priestley, Paley, and Beccaria; and there is a coincidental similarity with much of Hartley's work. His ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He is best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism and animal rights, and the idea of the panopticon.He has come to be considered the founding figure of modern utilitarianism.

    Bentham's original synthesis became known as Utilitarianism, although he himself preferred to call it the "greatest happiness principle."

    Bentham's Utilitarianism was based on ethical hedonism, the doctrine that the good is happiness and that the maximum possible amount of happiness for all conscious beings is the ethical goal. Along with ethical hedonism, Bentham believed in psychological hedonism, the doctrine that every person in fact does what gives him the greatest individual happiness.

    Quotations: "Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, --will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, --or to diminish something of their pains. And for every grain of enjoyment you sow in the bosom of another, you shall find a harvest in your own bosom, --while every sorrow which you pluck out from the thoughts and feelings of a fellow creature shall be replaced by beautiful flowers of peace and joy in the sanctuary of your soul."

    See on larger map
    Born February 15, 1748
    Died June 6, 1832
    (aged 84)
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    Contributor  

    Olga Borisik

    last changed 31/07/2017 view changes
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      • economist
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      • Westminster school
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      • The Queen's College, Oxford
    • Major Achievements
      • Called to the bar, 1817.
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    • Works
      • book: Bentham: A Fragment on Government (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) by Bentham, Jeremy (1988) [Paperback]
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      • book: A Fragment on Government With an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Edited with an Introduction by Wilfrid Harrison.
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      • book: A Fragment on Government, Or, A Comment on the Commentaries: Being an ...
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      • book: A Fragment on Government: Being an Examination of what is Delivered, on the ...
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      • book: A Fragment on Government; Or, A Comment on the Commentaries: Being an Examination of ... Sir ... 1823 [Hardcover]
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      • book: Bentham: A Fragment on Government (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
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      • book: A Fragment On Government And An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Leg
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      • book: A fragment on government; : being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government in general in the introduction to Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries: : With a preface, in which is given a critique of the work at large
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      • book: A Fragment on Government; and,
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      • book: A fragment on government;: Or, A comment on the commentaries: being an examination of what is delivered on the subject of government in general, in ... is given a critique on the work at large
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      • book: A Fragement on Government and an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Blackwell"s Political Texts)
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      • book: A Fragment on Government With an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Edited with an Introduction by Wilfrid Harrison.
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Legal Classics Libr
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation - [Complete in 2 volumes]
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 1876 [Hardcover]
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation 1879 [Hardcover]
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      • book: An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation. Essays On Government, Jurisprudence, Liberty Of The Press, And Law Of Nations. On Liberty. Utilitarianism
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation. With an introduction by Laurence J. Lafleur.
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      • book: The Limits of Jurisprudence Defined: Being Part Two of an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: Jeremy Bentham. An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation: James Mills. Essays on government, jurisprudence, liberty of the press, ... (Doubleday-Doran series in philosophy)
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      • book: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION, ESSAYS ON GOVERNMEN
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      • book: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION, ESSAYS ON GOVERNMENT, JURISPRUDENCE, LIBERTY OF THE PRESS, AND LAW OF NATIONS, ON LIBERTY UTILITARIANISM. A Volume in The Doubleday Doran Series in Philosophy.
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. A New Edition, Corrected by the Author. Two Volumes
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      • book: The limits of jurisprudence defined : being part two of An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation,
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      • book: Bentham: A Fragment on Government (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
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      • book: A Fragment on Government with an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: [(Bentham: A Fragment on Government)] [Author: Jeremy Bentham] published on (January, 2009)
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      • book: A Fragment of Government, and An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Edited with an Introduction by W. Harrison. Blackwell. 1948.
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      • book: A Fragment On Government
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      • book: A Fragment on Government
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      • book: A fragment on government
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      • book: A fragment on government - Primary Source Edition
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      • book: A fragment on government (Volume 3)
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      • book: A Fragment on Government - Scholar's Choice Edition
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      • book: A Fragment on Government a Comment on the Commentaries
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      • book: A Fragment on Government and an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: A Fragment on Government and an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Ed. With an Intro. By Wilfrid Harrison
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      • book: A fragment on government being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government
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      • book: A Fragment on Government or A Comment on the Commentaries
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      • book: A Fragment on Government or A Comment on the Commentaries - Scholar's Choice Edition
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      • book: A Fragment On Government: Being an Examination of What Is Delivered, On the Subject of Government in General, in the Introduction to Sir William ... Is Given a Critique On the Work at Large
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      • book: A Fragment on Government: Being an Examination of What is Delivered...
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      • book: A fragment on government: edited with an introduction by F.C. Montague.
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      • book: A fragment on government; being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government in general, in the introduction to Sir William ... is given a critique on the work at large.
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      • book: Un fragmento sobre el gobierno / A Fragment on Government 1776 (Spanish Edition)
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      • book: A Fragment on Government: Axiom of the Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number (Illustrated)
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      • book: A fragment on government (Volume 2)
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      • book: A fragment on government being an examination of what is delivered, on the subject of government in general in the introduction to Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries: : With a preface, in which is given a critique of the work at large. 20
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      • book: A fragment on government, or, A comment on the commentaries : being an examination of what is delivered on the subject of government in general, in the introduction to Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries : with a preface, in which is given a critique on
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      • book: A Fragment on Government; Or a Comment on the Commentaries (Classic Reprint)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Dover Philosophical Classics)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Classic Reprint)
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      • book: The Utilitarians : An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Utilitarianism, and On Liberty.
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      • book: A Fragment on Government with an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: A Fragment of Government, and An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Edited with an Introduction by W. Harrison. Blackwell. 1948.
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      • book: A Fragment on Government and an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Ed. With an Intro. By Wilfrid Harrison
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Classic Reprint)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Classic Reprint) Paperback September 6, 2012
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Dover Philosophical Classics) by Bentham, Jeremy (2007) Paperback
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation (v.2)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation - Scholar's Choice Edition
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation [Epic Audio Collection]
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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      • book: An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation V2 (1823)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Volume 1 - Primary Source Edition
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      • book: [ { AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION } ] by Bentham, Jeremy (AUTHOR) Nov-01-2012 [ Paperback ]
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation, 1
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, 2
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Vol. 2 of 2 (Classic Reprint)
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      • book: An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation, Volume 2
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation. Printed in the year 1780, and now first published. By Jeremy Bentham, ...
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: Printed in the Year 1780 (Ed.1789) (French Edition)
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation: Printed in the year 1780, and now first published
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      • book: Foundations of Utilitarianism: The Complete Works of "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation" by Jeremy Bentham and "Utilitarianism" by John Stuart Mill
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      • book: [(The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation )] [Author: Jeremy Bentham] [Feb-1996]
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      • book: Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation (the process of world history book) (English Collector s Edition) (Paperback)
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      • book: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals An Legislation (Classic Reprint)
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      • book: [(An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Dodo Press) )] [Author: Jeremy Bentham] [Nov-2008]
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      • book: An introduction to the principles of morals and legislation (v.1)
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      • book: [(An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation )] [Author: Jeremy Bentham] [Mar-2007]
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      • book: [(An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation )] [Author: Jeremy Bentham] [May-2005]
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      • book: [ [ [ An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation V2 (1823)[ AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION V2 (1823) ] By Bentham, Jeremy ( Author )Jun-01-2008 Paperback
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      • book: [ [ [ An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation V2 (1823)[ AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALS AND LEGISLATION V2 (1823) ] By Bentham, Jeremy ( Author )Sep-10-2010 Paperback
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