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Arts and MindsHow the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation$
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Anton Howes

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691182643

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691182643.001.0001

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The Greatest Beauty for the Greatest Number

The Greatest Beauty for the Greatest Number

(p.106) 5 The Greatest Beauty for the Greatest Number
Arts and Minds

Anton Howes

Princeton University Press

This chapter introduces Henry Cole, who was heavily influenced by the ideas of the philosopher Jeremy Bentham and became the conduit for utilitarianism into the Royal Society of Arts. It analyzes Bentham's proposed alternative that based everything on a fundamental guiding principle of achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. It also mentions utilitarian reformers inspired by Bentham that introduced improvements for the benefit of “the masses” or the “people.” The chapter talks about Rowland Hill, a utilitarian reformer who tried to create a national prepaid postage system. It examines Hill's scheme to replace the messy postal system that favoured only the rich and powerful by promoting a flat rate so that any letter weighing under an ounce might be sent to anywhere in the country for just a penny.

Keywords:   Henry Cole, Jeremy Bentham, utilitarianism, Royal Society of Arts, utilitarian reformers, Rowland Hill, national prepaid postage system

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