The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham: 1752-76

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About the author (1968)

Jeremy Bentham was born in London, in 1748, the son of an attorney. He was admitted to Queen's College, Oxford, at age 12 and graduated in 1763 An English reformer and political philosopher, Bentham spent his life supporting countless social and political reform measures and trying as well to create a science of human behavior. He advocated a utopian welfare state and designed model cities, prisons, schools, and so on, to achieve that goal. He defined his goal as the objective study and measurement of passions and feelings, pleasures and pains, will and action. The principle of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number," set forth in his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, governed all of his schemes for the improvement of society, and the philosophy he devised, called utilitarianism, set a model for all subsequent reforms based on scientific principles.