Political Philosophers

463 Words2 Pages
Political Philosophers Jeremy Bentham figured that laws should be socially useful and not merely reflect the status quo. While he believed that men inevitably pursue pleasure and avoid pain, Bentham thought it to be a sacred truth that the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation. Bentham supposed that morality could be derived from "enlightened self-interest," and that a person who always acted with a view to his own maximum satisfaction in the long run would always act rightly. Bentham is comparable to William Godwin. They resembled one another in their contempt for the past. While each preached the need for nonviolent revolution, each had a different following. Bentham's revolution was to be through legislation, Godwin's through argument. It was in Bentham's book, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789), that he developed the idea that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should govern our judgment of every institution and action. Basically, he states that we should proceed with legislative actio...
Open Document