Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides For The by Philip Schofield

By Philip Schofield

Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are transparent, concise and obtainable introductions to thinkers, writers and matters that scholars and readers can locate specifically difficult. Concentrating in particular on what it truly is that makes the topic tricky to fathom, those books clarify and discover key subject matters and ideas, guiding the reader in the direction of an intensive figuring out of hard fabric.

Bentham: A consultant for the Perplexed offers a transparent account of his lifestyles and proposal, and highlights his relevance to modern debates in philosophy, politics, and legislation. Key recommendations and issues, together with Bentham's concept of common sense and language, his utilitarianism, his criminal concept, his panopticon felony, and his democratic politics—together along with his perspectives on faith, intercourse, and torture—are lucidly explored. The e-book additionally comprises an illuminating dialogue of the character of the textual content from the point of view of an skilled textual editor.

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Additional info for Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides For The Perplexed)

Example text

Promoting the greatest happiness of the community] . . appear as attractive as possible’ to the individual, but also ‘in a very much 23 BENTHAM: A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED more subtle way’, even though Bentham did not himself ‘appear to be aware’ he was doing it. 11 Ayer does not concern himself with whether this strategy was what the ‘authenticity Bentham’ actually had in mind, but it is a strategy which Ayer attributes to Bentham, ‘whether he was aware of it or not’. In the course of his discussion Ayer reconstructs Bentham’s doctrine in a further significant way, yet writes as if his reconstruction is attributable to the ‘authenticity Bentham’.

The first volume of Tactique contained ‘Tactique des assemblées délibérantes’, Dumont’s translation of ‘Essays on Political Tactics’, while the second was devoted to ‘sophismes’. 20 He had then divided the ‘sophismes’ into ‘sophismes politiques’ and ‘sophismes anarchiques’. The material for the latter was, of course, taken from ‘Nonsense upon Stilts’. Hence Dumont was able 37 BENTHAM: A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED to present his recension as a coherent and connected whole, even though it contained three different works.

5 But how is it psychologically possible for an individual to pursue the greatest happiness of the greatest number, given that he is motivated by a desire to increase his own happiness? Before considering this question, I will deal with the criticism that Bentham advocates an egotistical or self-centred theory of ethics – in other words, he claims, say the critics, that an individual acts in the right way when he attempts to maximize his own happiness without regard to the happiness of others. On this view, Bentham, it is assumed, accepts that if each individual acts in this way, it will turn out for the best overall.

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