'From a Good Scheme to a Better': The Itinerancy of Jeremy Bentham, 1769–1789

Utilitas 24 (04):443-466 (2012)
Bentham was convinced throughout his adult life that law reform in both theory and practice was his vocation. As a deliberately briefless barrister he set out in the early 1770s to establish jurisprudence on the principle of utility. From the first, however, he was repeatedly diverted from this central task. Confronted by the authority of Blackstone, he wrote, without completing, his Comment on the Commentaries, and turned within that context to the specific theme of his Fragment on Government (1776). In the later 1770s he took up the subject of punishment as his principal theme (dealing with an immediate problem in his 1778 View of the Hard-Labour Bill). His Theory of Punishment was projected as his contribution to the sires, in which he would stand beside Hume, HelvCode still incomplete when the French Revolution took Bentham's attention elsewhere
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