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Bentham Project

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Bentham and the Arts

The seminar series will consider the sceptical challenge presented by Jeremy Bentham’s hedonistic utilitarianism to the existence of the aesthetic, as represented in the oft-quoted statement that, ‘Prejudice apart, the game of push-pin is of equal value with the arts and sciences of music and poetry. If the game of push-pin furnish more pleasure, it is more valuable than either.’ This statement is one part of a complex set of arguments on culture, taste, and utility that Bentham pursued over his lifetime, in which sensations of pleasure and pain were opposed to aesthetic sensibility.

Hosted by the Bentham Project and Faculty of Laws, University College London and the University of the Arts, London

Sponsored by UCL Faculty of Laws; UCL Bentham Project; and the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS)

Co convenors: Anthony Julius (UCL); Malcolm Quinn (UAL); Philip Schofield (UCL)

All seminars take place on Tuesday evenings, at 6.00 pm, at UCL.  All are welcome.

The titles below are indicative.

30 January 2018 BENTHAM SYMPOSIUM. Bentham’s Challenge to Aesthetics: Benjamin Bourcier (Catholic University of Lille); Malcolm Quinn (University of the Arts, London); Philip Schofield (UCL)
20 February 2018 Anthony Julius (UCL): Bentham, Censorship, and the Arts
6 March 2018 Stella Sandford (Kingston): Freud and Bentham: Sexuality and Culture
20 March 2018 Tim Milnes (Edinburgh): Bentham, Romanticism, and the Arts
1 May 2018 Frances Ferguson (Chicago): Bentham, Modernity, and the Arts
22 May 2018 Emmanuelle de Champs (Cergy-Pointoise): tbc
5 June 2018 Fran Cottell (University of the Arts London) and Marianne Mueller (Architectural Association): The Panopticon and the Art School
19 June 2018 Carolyn Shapiro (Falmouth): The Image of Bentham

For enquiries please contact Phil Baker, UCL Laws: philip.baker@ucl.ac.uk (020 3108 8480).