Bentham Project


An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

ed. J.H Burns and H.L.A. Hart (The Athlone Press, 1970), pp. xliii, 343. Reprinted in paperback with new introduction by F. Rosen (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996), pp.cxii, 343.

Originally printed in 1780, and first published in 1789, this work contains Bentham's most famous analysis of the principle of utility, wherein he distinguishes between its role in explaining why agents act as they do, and in pointing out the way in which they ought to act. The work also includes seminal discussions of the limits of legislation and the nature of offenses and punishment.