Pleasure and pain: The philosophy of Jeremy Bentham Jan. 27, 2022

from The Forum· ·

How do you approach the decisions you make in life? Do you think about them in terms of the maximum pleasure and minimum pain that any choice would lead to for yourself and others around you? If so, you are beginning to think along similar lines to the influential British philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham with his concept of Utilitarianism. This was not Bentham’s only contribution to radical thought. With the prison and judicial systems, with education, women’s suffrage, animal rights and the monarchy, throughout his life he came up with a huge body of work that challenged the status …



How do you approach the decisions you make in life? Do you think about them in terms of the maximum pleasure and minimum pain that any choice would lead to for yourself and others around you? If so, you are beginning to think along similar lines to the influential British philosopher and reformer Jeremy Bentham with his concept of Utilitarianism. This was not Bentham’s only contribution to radical thought. With the prison and judicial systems, with education, women’s suffrage, animal rights and the monarchy, throughout his life he came up with a huge body of work that challenged the status quo and still feels relevant today. Rajan Datar is joined by three expert guests to guide us through the life and work of this remarkable thinker: professor Philip Schofield from University College London who is both the director of the Bentham Project and the general editor of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham; Emmanuelle de Champs who is professor of British history and civilisation at CY Cergy Paris University, and Jeffrey Kaplan who is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. (Image: Coloured engraving of Jeremy Bentham, early 19th century. Credit: Stock Montage/Getty Images)