Bentham Project



first use of the term

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the word 'Benthamry' first occurs in 1855 in An Essay on Intuitive Morals: being an attempt to popularise Ethical science, 2 vols., London [By Miss F. P. Cobb]

Professor Professor J. H. Burns (Emeritus Professor of History, UCL and a past director of the Bentham Project) notes an occurrence nineteen years earlier:

J. W. Semple (d. 1844) in the table of contents of his translation of Kant's Metaphysics of Ethics (Edinburgh 1836; later edns Edinburgh, 1869, 1871) has the following:

Position 2. All material practical principles how different soever, agree in this, that they belong to ONE AND THE SAME SYSTEM, whether distinguished or disguised by the names of EPICUREANISM, EUDAIMONISM, BENTHAMRY, or UTILITARIANISM, and rest on self-love.

Semple has no entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography but Professor Burns hopes to rescue him from obscurity in the course of research into the Scottish Kantians.