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Jeremy Bentham Presentation

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Paul Vasquez

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Jeremy Bentham Presentation

Basic Beliefs About Law Jeremy Bentham was born was born in Houndsditch, London on February 15, 1748.
He was the son and grandson of attorneys, and his early family life was coloured by a mix of religion (on his mother’s side) and Enlightenment rationalism (from his father).
He is regarded as a child prodigy.
Bentham lived during a time of major social, political and economic change. The Industrial Revolution (with the massive economic and social shifts that it brought in its wake), the rise of the middle class, and revolutions in France and America all were reflected in Bentham’s reflections on existing institutions. Jeremy Bentham Sample of His Writing Controversial Social issue Capital punishment or the death penalty is the execution of a person by the state as punishment for a crime. Bentham was against capital punishment, believing that harsh punishment was more applicable. He believed in achieving a well ordered society through legislation, believing the nature of man can change. He thought that punishment deters crime: People who know they will be severely punished are less likely to commit crimes. Bentham advocated neither an extreme or a cruel punishment - only punishment sufficiently distasteful to the offender that the discomfort experienced would outweigh the pleasure to be deprived from criminal activity. Explanation of quote By :Paul Vasquez & Michael Mastracci Philosopher's of Law 1748 - 1832 Biography Works Cited Biography (cont'd) His father had intended him to become a lawyer like him.
In 1760, at the age of twelve, Bentham entered Queen’s College, Oxford and, upon graduation in 1764, studied law at Lincoln’s Inn.
Though qualified to practice law, he never did so.
Instead, he devoted most of his life to writing on matters of legal reform though, curiously, he made little effort to publish much of what he wrote.
He was a philosopher, jurist, and social reformer.
He was a Hedonist, believing that the only good was pleasure.
He also influenced many philosopher’s of his time, most notably John Austin and John Stuart Mill who were also supporters of the utilitarian principle and developed on his ideas.
Regarded as the founder of Utilitarianism.
He passed away on June 6 1832 at the age of age of 84 in London, England.
Bentham, Jeremy, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. 1907. Library of Economics and Liberty. 3 March 2013.

Harrison, Ross." Jeremy Bentham." The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. 85-88.Oxford, n.d. Web. 2 Mar 2013

Manning, D.J. The Mind of Jeremy Bentham. London: Longmans, (1968).3 March 2013

Plamenatz, John. "Bentham, Jeremy." Britannica Biographies (2012): 1. Canadian Reference Centre. Web. 2 Mar. 2013.

Swanson, Kim. "JEREMY BENTHAM." Criminology.fsu.edu. n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.

"Utilitarianism." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. Canadian Reference Centre. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. Jeopardy Game http://jeopardylabs.com/play/jeremy-bentham-jeopardy-game He wrote in The Principles of Morals and Legislation: "Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it." Bentham says in the Introduction that by 'utility' he means that property in any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness or to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil, or unhappiness. The rightness of actions depends on their utility and the utility is measured by the consequences which the actions tend to produce. The most important term for Bentham are the ones with which he began the Introduction, pleasure and pain. Bentham thinks that these are clear understandable terms, which can then be used to give accurate intelligence to the others. For Bentham, the good is the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. He stated that we are motivated by pain and pleasure and therefore, as humans, it is in our own interest to obtain pleasure so we could live a happy life and avoid suffering. Jeremy Bentham was a positive law philosopher.
Positive law deals with laws that are based on human authority.
He opposed the idea of natural law, claiming that it was "nonsense upon stilts."
Bentham held that law is not rooted in a "Natural Law", bu is simply a command expressing the will of the sovereign.
He believed law has nothing to do with morality.
His view on law is that its purpose is to be in charge of people, and it does not define what is moral or immoral, which is a view of positive law.

His main concern as a philosopher was the social and legal reform that was in place at the government at the time. He was disgusted with the laws and the way things were run.
In the time of the Industrial Revolution in England there were many unjust laws. Many crimes that were very minor carried the death penalty and people did not have access to legal support or advice. Bentham was strongly opposed to this and challenged to reform the law.



Bentham's moral philosophy embraces the principle of utility.
He was a utilitarian claiming that the role of the government and law is to provide "the greatest good for the greatest number."
He strongly believed that law is a means of social control, and that it should reflect the needs of the majority.
He stated that "Pleasures then, and the avoidance of pains, are the ends which the legislator has in view."
For Bentham the principle of utility, interpreted in terms of pleasure and pain, is the only appropriate measure of value because it is the only comprehensible one.

Believed that we are motivated by pleasure and pain.
Happiness therefore to Bentham, is experiencing pleasure and avoiding pain.
Bentham used the Hedonic Calculus to measure happiness. vs.
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