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The Happiness PhilosophersThe Lives and Works of the Great Utilitarians$
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Bart Schultz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154770

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154770.001.0001

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Jeremy Bentham’s Dream

Jeremy Bentham’s Dream

(p.53) Chapter Two Jeremy Bentham’s Dream
The Happiness Philosophers

Bart Schultz

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Jeremy Bentham's doctrine of utilitarianism and the principle of “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” Bentham is known for his radical critique of society, which aimed to test the usefulness of existing institutions, practices and beliefs against an objective evaluative standard, as well as his advocacy of law reform and his utilitarian justification for democracy. The chapter considers Bentham's views on subjects ranging from happiness and pleasure to social reform, “theory of fictions,” and sex and sexuality. It also discusses some of Bentham's writings, including Analysis of the Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind (published under the pseudonym Philip Beauchamp), Chrestomathia, Defense of Economy against the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, and An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Finally, the chapter looks at Bentham's proposals for reform of the Poor Laws and his influence on the Poor Law Amendment Act.

Keywords:   happiness, social reform, sexuality, theory of fictions, Jeremy Bentham, utilitarianism, law reform, Chrestomathia, Poor Laws, Poor Law Amendment Act

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