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Bentham definitions

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

n
1: English philosopher and jurist; founder of utilitarianism (1748-1831) [syn: Bentham, Jeremy Bentham]

Merriam Webster's

biographical name Jeremy 1748-1832 English jurist & philosopher

Britannica Concise

British social and political theorist. Precociously brilliant, he graduated from Oxford at 15. He was an atheist and an exponent of the new laissez-faire economics of A. Smith and D. Ricardo. The first great exponent of utilitarianism, he wrote that government should promote "the greatest happiness." He inspired much reform legislation, especially prison reform, and was a vocal advocate of democracy, though he attacked notions of the social contract and natural law as superfluous. Believing society could advance by calculation of pleasure and pain, he tried to compare the relative gratifications of health, wealth, power, friendship, and benevolence, as well as those of "irascible appetite" and "antipathy." He thought of punishment purely as a deterrent, and graded offenses solely by the harm they did to happiness. He helped found the radical Westminster Review (1823). He willed that his clothed skeleton be exhibited permanently at University College London.



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