UCL Faculty of Laws


New 'Bentham and the Arts' seminar series launched

4 January 2018

Jeremy Bentham

‘Bentham and the Arts’ is a new seminar series beginning in January 2018.  It is convened by Professors Anthony Julius (University College London), Malcolm Quinn (University of the Arts, London) and Philip Schofield (University College London).

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.

‘Bentham and the Arts’ is hosted by the Bentham Project, UCL Faculty of Laws and the University of the Arts, London.  It is sponsored by UCL Faculty of Laws; UCL Bentham Project; and the International Society for Utilitarian Studies (ISUS).

All seminars take place on Tuesday evenings, at 6.00 pm, at UCL.  All are welcome and no registration is required.

The seminar programme is as follows:

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): Who was the greater champion of literature, Bentham or Mill?

6 March 2018

Stella Sandford (Kingston): 'Envy accompanied with Antipathy': Bentham and Freud on the Psychology of Sexual Ressentiment

20 March 2018

Tim Milnes (Edinburgh): Bentham, Romanticism, and the Arts

1 May 2018

Frances Ferguson (Chicago): Jeremy Bentham's Expansive Aesthetics: Pushpin Too

22 May 2018

Emmanuelle de Champs (Cergy-Pointoise): Bentham and Dumont on Taste and Literature

29 May 2018

Carey Young (UCL): tbc

5 June 2018

Fran Cottell (University of the Arts London) and Marianne Mueller (Architectural Association): Pentagon Petal: from Pain to Pleasure

19 June 2018

Carolyn Shapiro (Falmouth): The Image of Bentham

Further details and abstracts of papers can be found on the seminar webpage.