Utility and Democracy: The Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
OUP Oxford (2009)
Utility and Democracy is the first comprehensive historical account of the political thought of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the philosopher and reformer. Philip Schofield draws on his extensive knowledge of Bentham's unpublished manuscripts and original printed texts, and on the new, authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham . A compelling narrative charts the way in which Bentham applied his utilitarian philosophy to the rapidly changing circumstances of his age. Schofield begins with a lucid account of Bentham's insights in the fields of logic and language, and in particular his theory of real and fictitious entities, which lie at the foundation of his thought. He proceeds to show how these insights brought Bentham to the principle of utility, which led him in turn to produce the first systematic defence of democracy from a utilitarian perspective. In contrast to previous scholarship, which claims that Bentham's 'conversion' or 'transition' to political radicalism took place either at the time of the French Revolution or following his meeting with James Mill in 1808 or 1809, Professor Schofield shows that the process began in or around 1804 when the notion of sinister interest emerged in Bentham's thought. Bentham appreciated that rulers, rather than being motivated by a desire to promote the greatest happiness of those subject to them, aimed to promote their own happiness, whatever the overall cost to the community. In his constitutional writings of the 1820s, which he addressed to 'all nations professing liberal opinions', Bentham argued that the proper end of constitutional design was to maximize official aptitude and minimize government expense, and that the publicity of official actions, within the context of a republican system of government where sovereignty lay in the people, was the means to achieve it. Bentham's commitment to radical reform led him to advocate the abolition of the British monarchy and House of Lords, the replacement of the Common Law with a codified system of law, and the 'euthanasia' of the Anglican Church.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Valerie Wallace (2012). Benthamite Radicalism and its Scots Presbyterian Contexts. Utilitas 24 (01):1-25.
Peter J. Cain (2011). Bentham and the Development of the British Critique of Colonialism. Utilitas 23 (1):1-24.
Similar books and articles
Philip Schofield (2009). Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York ;Continuum.
Iain Hampsher-Monk (1994). Jeremy Bentham, Official Aptitude Maximized; Expense Minimized, Ed. Philip Schofield, (The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993, Pp. Li + 504. Utilitas 6 (02):311-.
J. R. Dinwiddy (1989/2004). Bentham. Oxford University Press.
J. R. Dinwiddy (1989/2004). Bentham: Selected Writings of John Dinwiddy. Stanford University Press.
Jeremy Bentham (1990). The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Securities Against Misrule and Other Constitutional Writings for Tripoli and Greece. Clarendon Press.
Jeremy Bentham (1996). The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Clarendon Press.
P. J. Kelly (1990). Utilitarianism and Distributive Justice: Jeremy Bentham and the Civil Law. Oxford University Press.
Philip Schofield (2011). Jeremy Bentham and HLA Hart's 'Utilitarian Tradition in Jurisprudence'. Jurisprudence 1 (2):147-167.
Jeremy Bentham (1994). The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: Correspondence: Volume 10: July 1820 to December 1821. Clarendon Press.
Philippe Mongin & Nathalie Sigot (1999). Halévy's Bentham is Bentham. Philosophy 74 (2):271-281.
J. H. Burns (2005). Happiness and Utility: Jeremy Bentham's Equation. Utilitas 17 (1):46-61.
L. J. Hume (1981). Bentham and Bureaucracy. Cambridge University Press.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2012-01-31
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?