UCL Faculty of Laws

Prof Philip Schofield

Prof Philip Schofield

Professor of the History of Legal and Political Thought

The Bentham Project

Faculty of Laws

Joined UCL
1st Oct 1984

Research summary

Philip Schofield's Utility and Democracy: the Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham, published by Oxford University Press, was awarded the prestigious WJM Mackenzie Book Prize for 2006 by the Political Studies Association. It was published in a paperback version in May 2009. Professor Schofield has published an introduction to Bentham’s life and thought. His Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2009) highlights Bentham’s relevance to contemporary debates in philosophy, politics, and law. Key concepts and themes, such as Bentham’s theory of logic and language, his utilitarianism, his legal theory, his panopticon prison, and his democratic politics, together with his views on religion, sex, and torture, are lucidly explored.

Professor Schofield has edited or co-edited eleven volumes in the new Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, and has made major contributions to several more in his role as General Editor. His new edition of Bentham’s Of the Limits of the Penal Branch of Jurisprudence , has superseded H.L.A. Hart’s edition of Of Laws in General, as a volume in the new edition of Laws in General. He is supervising work on new, authoritative editions of Bentham’s works on political economy and on tranportation to Australia.

He has published numerous studies related to his work on Bentham, for instance in the Journal of Legal History, Utilitas economics, logic and language, political fallacies, sexual morality, and History of Political Thought, and History of European Ideas.

Teaching summary

Current Teaching

LLM: Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition


Other higher degree, Master of Laws | 1989
University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1984
Manchester Polytechnic
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Postgraduate Certificate in Education | 1984
University of Manchester
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1980


Philip Schofield is Professor of the History of Legal and Political Thought, Director of the Bentham Project and General Editor of the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

He is Secretary of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, which organises major international conferences. The ninth ISUS Conference was the hugely successful John Stuart Mill Bicentennial Conference held at UCL in April 2006, which was co-organised by Professor Schofield with Dr Georgios Varouxakis (QMUL). The tenth Conference, organised by Professor David Lieberman, was held at Berkeley in September 2008. Other conferences have been held in Lucca (June 2011) and New York (2012), Yokohama (2014), Lille (2016), and Karlsruhe (2018).

For more details see the Bentham Project website. Professor Schofield is Chair of the Bentham Seminar, where scholars present new research into all aspects of Bentham studies. For a list of forthcoming seminars see the Bentham Project website.