Sociology Index

Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham was a British philosopher, jurist, and social reformer. Jeremy Bentham is regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism. Jeremy Bentham was a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism. Jeremy Bentham advocated individual and economic freedom, freedom of expression, equality of condition and equal rights for women, the right to divorce, and also the decriminalising of homosexual acts. Bentham was also a sharp critic of legal fictions. Jeremy Bentham was an atheist. Crimmins 1990, p. 283 notes, "Making allowance for Adams's cautious phrasing, this is a concise statement of Bentham's secular positivism, but it is also important to note the conviction with which Bentham held his atheism." Jeremy Bentham contrbuted immensely to society and atheism.

Jeremy Bentham called for the abolition of slavery, the abolition of the death penalty, and the abolition of physical punishment, including that of children. Bentham defined as the "fundamental axiom" of his philosophy the principle that "it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong."

Jeremy Bentham's students included James Mill, John Stuart Mill, the legal philosopher John Austin, as well as Robert Owen, one of the founders of utopian socialism. Jeremy Bentham influenced reforms of prisons, schools, laws for the poor, law courts, and Parliament itself. Jeremy Bentham became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism.

Jeremy Bentham has also become known as an early advocate of animal rights. Though strongly in favour of the extension of individual legal rights, he opposed the idea of natural law and natural rights, considered "divine" or "God-given" in origin, calling them "nonsense upon stilts". - Sweet, William. "Bentham, Jeremy". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

González 2012, p. 81 writes, "In sum, with Hume's agnosticism and Bentham's atheism, the fundamental voluntarist thesis about the gulf between the divine and the human mind reaches new depths, and this serves to reinforce and radicalize the rejection, begun by Pufendorf, of Grotian rights-theory as the appropriate means of formulating the conventionalist theory of the moral life."