- Bentham, Jeremy
- (1748–1832)English philosopher of law, language, and ethics. Born in London, Bentham was educated at Oxford, and studied law, for which he developed a profound mistrust. His major preoccupation became the flimsy theoretical foundations of law and the abuses to which the law gives rise. His first important publication, A Fragment on Government (1776), was a small part of his enormous Comment on the Commentaries of the jurist Blackstone, the classic statement of the conservative legal theory that was one of Bentham's principal aversions. The main theoretical work Bentham published during his lifetime was the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789). Bentham was the founder of utilitarianism, and made famous the formula that the proper end of action is to achieve the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Much of his work tried to elaborate that doctrine and to show how utilitarianism could be developed into a calculus of pleasures (a hedonic or felicific calculus ) whereby the effects of actions could be judged and right policy thereby identified. Utilitarianism was to provide a coherent and rational foundation for social and legal policy, whereas such fictions as natural rights, the social contract, and natural law served only to introduce incoherent and indefensible systems privileging some set of ‘intuitions’. Bentham's concern with law included a far-reaching critique of the abstractions and fictions within which law is often couched, and a penetrating understanding of the ways words force attitudes on the things they denote. He promoted a generally nominalistic and pragmatic theory of language, while his conception of definition by paraphrasis anticipates Frege in holding that the fundamental unit of meaning is not the individual word, but the sentence in which it occurs.Bentham exercised enormous influence as the leader of a like-minded group of ‘philosophical radicals’, a group that included James and John Stuart Mill . He founded the Westminster Review as a counterpoise to the more conservative journals of the time, and was also the founder of University College London, where his embalmed body, topped by a wax head, is still revealed on special occasions.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.
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Bentham, Jeremy — (1748–1832) One of the most influential philosophers and legal theorists of the modern age. Against the traditionalist account of English law formulated by William Blackstone, Bentham advanced the principle that law should aim to maximize… … Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914
Bentham, Jeremy — born Feb. 15, 1748, London, Eng. died June 6, 1832, London British moral philosopher and legal theorist, the earliest expounder of utilitarianism. A precocious student, he graduated from Oxford at age 15. In his An Introduction to the Principles… … Universalium
Bentham, Jeremy — (1748 1832) Often regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism , Bentham is best known for his texts on legal philosophy, and his programmes of social (especially penal) reform. He was a leading figure of classical criminology , which… … Dictionary of sociology
Bentham,Jeremy — Ben·tham (bĕnʹthəm), Jeremy. 1748 1832. British writer, reformer, and philosopher whose systematic analysis of law and legislation laid the foundations of utilitarianism. * * * … Universalium
Bentham, Jeremy — See Utilitarians ( … History of philosophy
Bentham, Jeremy — ► (1748 1832) Jurisconsulto y filósofo británico. Fue el creador del moderno utilitarismo. Trató de demostrar que el fin principal de la ciencia era el de procurar la mayor felicidad para el mayor número de personas. Su doctrina está contenida en … Enciclopedia Universal
BENTHAM, JEREMY — a writer on jurisprudence and ethics, born in London; bred to the legal profession, but never practised it; spent his life in the study of the theory of law and government, his leading principle on both these subjects being utilitarianism, or… … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
BENTHAM, Jeremy — (1748 1832) English philosopher, political theorist and founder of UTILITARIANISM. His work The Handbook of Political Fallacies is a classic of common sense … Concise dictionary of Religion
Bentham, Jeremy — (1748 1832) English writer on jurisprudence and ethics. Index: Sy An associate of Sydenham s, 13. Bib.: Works, ed. by Bowring and Burton, 1843. For biog., see Dict. Nat. Biog … The makers of Canada
Bentham, Jeremy — (1748 1832) Writer on jurisprudence and politics, b. in London, s. of a prosperous attorney, ed. at Westminster and Oxford, was called to the Bar at Lincoln s Inn, but disliking the law, he made little or no effort to practise, but devoted… … Short biographical dictionary of English literature