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:
- ‘Of the further uses of the dead to the living’
- A Fragment on Government
- Principle of Utility
- Logic and Language
- Theory of Law
- Theory of Punishment
- Indirect Legislation
- Subsistence, Abundance, Security and Equality
- Political Economy
- Panopticon: Prison and Poorhouse
- Panopticon vs New South Wales
- Colonies and Colonization
- Politics and the French Revolution
- French Nonsense
- Liberty of the Press
- Parliamentary Reform and Fallacies
- Constitutional Code
- Religion and sex
- Post-Benthamite Utilitarianism
Note: Students are encouraged to attend the Bentham seminars, which usually take place during the second term, and where invited speakers who are carrying out research in Bentham studies are invited to present a paper and to answer questions.
Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.
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 encouraged to write one short informal essay each term.
- 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.
- There is more information and links to resources at the Bentham Project’s website ucl.ac.uk/bentham-project
|Credit value:||30 credits (15 ECTS, 300 learning hours)|
|Teaching Delivery:||20 x 2-hour weekly seminars, 10 seminars per term, Term One and Two|
|Who may enrol:||Any UCL Master’s student|
|Must not be taken with:||Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition A (LAWS0052)|
|Qualifying module for:||LLM in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory;|
LLM in Legal History
|Practice Assessment:||Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay per term (two in total)|
|Final Assessment:||Exam (100%)|