Essay about Jeremy Bentham 's Philosophy Of Law And The Principle Of Utilitarianism

Essay about Jeremy Bentham 's Philosophy Of Law And The Principle Of Utilitarianism

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Jeremy Bentham was born in London on February 15, 1748, as “the son and grandson of attorneys. He lived during a time of major social, political, and economic change. The Industrial Revolution, the rise of the middle class, and revolutions in France and America reflected in Bentham’s work. In 1760 at the age of 12, Bentham, a prodigy, entered Queen’s College, Oxford. Upon completion of his undergraduate work, he went on to study law at Lincoln’s Inn. Instead of practicing law, he devoted much of life to writing on matters of legal reform” (Sweet). Bentham, a philosopher, spent most of his days focusing on the philosophy of law and the principle of utilitarianism. Oddly, Bentham did not publish a majority of his work despite spending hours doing it each day. “The publication process did not particularly engage him. Much of what appeared in his lifetime and for decades thereafter involved more or less active intervention of editors” (Ferguson 534).

Bentham was “a hedonistic utilitarian that argued when attempting to evaluate the pleasure or pain produced by an action, there are various aspects of the pleasure and pain that we should consider” (DeGeorge 46). Using the utilitarian approach, one weighs the good and bad consequences when considering an action. If the good outweighs the bad, it is generally a good decision. This moral reasoning exists when a person ponders the consequences of an action by using utilitarian calculus. This is where an ethical math measures the consequences in the measurement of hedons (positives) and dolors (negatives). “For Bentham, pleasure and pain serve not only as explanations for action, but they also define one’s moral. It is, in short, on the basis of pleasures and pains, which can ...


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...’s societies” (Schwartz).

Jeremy Bentham died in London in 1832. Known for his utilitarianism principle, “his influence was minor during his life. His impact became greater in later years as his ideas continued through his followers such as John Stuart Mill, John Austin, and other consequentialists” (Sweet). I found a couple of odd items about Bentham’s life. The first is that he devoted his life to writing, but he was not as interested in publishing. He also requested in his will that they embalm his body and preserve his corpse in a closet. Bentham spent his much of his life writing on legal reform, focusing on the philosophy of law and the principle of utilitarianism. No matter whether you agree or disagree with the utilitarianism theory, Jeremy Bentham’s lifelong writings and contribution were a major influence on the philosophy of law and ethical theory.

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