Synopses & Reviews
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. He is best known for his advocacy of utilitarianism and animal rights, and the idea of the panopticon.His position included arguments in favor of individual and economic freedom, usury, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the right to divorce, and the decriminalizing of homosexual acts. He also argued for the abolition of slavery, physical punishment (including that of children) and the death penalty. Although strongly in favor of the extension of individual legal rights, he opposed the idea of natural law and natural rights, calling them nonsense upon stilts.Bentham's ambition in life was to create a Pannomion, a complete utilitarian code of law. Bentham not only proposed many legal and social reforms, but also expounded an underlying moral principle on which they should be based.