The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.
JEREMY BENTHAM AND THE UTILITARIAN TRADITION (LAWSG021) Credit value: 30 credits (12 ECTS)
Assessment method for Masters students: 3 hour unseen written examination
This module provides a unique opportunity to study the ideas and influence of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), the famous jurist, philosopher, and political scientist. Despite concentrating on the thought of one person, the module is surprisingly wide-ranging, since Bentham made significant contributions across a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, law, politics, and economics. Bentham's ideas are related to the social, political and intellectual context of his own time, and an assessment made of their significance for the contemporary world.
The module is taught by scholars associated with the Bentham Project, which is currently producing a new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, published by Oxford University Press.
The syllabus is subject to change:
1. ‘Of the further uses of the dead to the living’
2. Principle of Utility
3. A Fragment on Government
4. Natural Rights—Nonsense upon Stilts
5. Political Fallacies
6. Truth, Utility, and Legal Theory
7. Subsistence, Abundance, Security, and Equality
8. Political Economy
9. Theory of Punishment
11. Poor Laws
12. Political Thought and the French Revolution
13. Parliamentary Reform
14. Colonies and Colonization
16. Representative Democracy
17. Constitutional Code
18. Religion and Sex
19. BENTHAM SEMINAR
20. BENTHAM SEMINAR
Jeremy Bentham, Selected Writings, ed. Stephen G. Engelmann, Yale University Press, 2011.
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, ed. F.Rosen, J.H. Burns, and H.L.A. Hart, OUP, 1996.
Philip Schofield, Utility and Democracy: the political thought of Jeremy Bentham, OUP, 2006.
J.R. Dinwiddy, Bentham, Oxford Past Masters, Oxford, 1989; also published in J.R. Dinwiddy, Bentham: Selected Writings of John Dinwiddy, ed. W. Twining, Stanford, 2004.
Philip Schofield, Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed, London, 2009.
One or more students will make short presentations at each seminar. For each seminar, students will be guided through the relevant section of the reading list, and essential and supplementary reading assigned. Each student is expected to read the essential materials, and preferably one or more of the supplementary materials, and be prepared to discuss their thoughts and ideas in class. Students are encourage to write one short informal essay each term.
The module concludes with the Bentham Seminars, where invited speakers who are carrying out research in Bentham studies are invited to present a paper to the class and answer questions.
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.
The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.
Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.