This book presents a new interpretation of the principle of utility in moral and political theory based on the writings of the classical utilitarians. The writings of Adam Smith, William Paley and Jeremy Bentham are also considered.
Exploring the connection between Bentham and Byron forged by the Greek struggle for independence, this book focuses on the activities of the London Greek Committee, supposedly founded by disciples of Jeremy Bentham, which mounted the expedition on which Lord Byron ultimately met his death in Greece. Rosen's penetrating study provides a new assessment of British philhellenism and examines for the first time the relationship between Bentham's theory of constitutional government and the emerging liberalism of the 1820s. Breaking new ground in (...) the history of political ideas and culture in the early nineteenth century, Rosen advances striking new interpretations based on recently published texts and manuscript sources of the development of constitutional theory from Locke and Montesquieu, the conflicting strands of liberalism in the 1820s, and the response in Britain to strong claims for national self-determination in the Mediterranean basin. He sets out to distinguish between Bentham's theory and the ideological context against which it is usually interpreted. (shrink)