Bentham, Jeremy (17481832)

Bentham, Jeremy, a writer on jurisprudence and ethics, born in London; bred to the legal profession, but never practised it; spent his life in the study of the theory of law and government, his leading principle on both these subjects being utilitarianism, or what is called the greatest happiness principle, as the advocate of which he is chiefly remembered; a principle against which Carlyle never ceased to protest as a philosophy of man's life, but which he hailed as a sign that the crisis which must precede the regeneration of the world was come; a lower estimate, he thought, man could not form of his soul than as “a dead balance for weighing hay and thistles, pains and pleasures, &c.,” an estimate of man's soul which he thinks mankind will, when it wakes up again to a sense of itself, be sure to resent and repudiate (17481832).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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