UCL News


Online: Pleasures of the Bed

7 July 2010

The UCL Institute for Global Health's (IGH's) 15th symposium, 'The Pleasures of the Bed: Jeremy Bentham on Sex, Population & Happiness' is now available to view online.


The philosopher, jurist and social scientist Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) is considered UCL's spiritual father, and wrote widely on sex, population growth and wellbeing, but how are his writings important for current global health debates?

Professor Philip Schofield and Dr Michael Quinn (UCL Bentham Project) explore Bentham's changing views on population growth, and how he influenced the discourse on population in the 1820s, as well as Bentham's work on sex, at the UCL Institute for Global Health symposium in June 2010.

Professor Judith Stephenson (UCL Institute for Women's Health) emphasises how Bentham's views have resonance for us now because of current concerns about global population, reproductive rights and stigma around 'unnatural' practices. Using homosexuality to reduce population is explored further by Dr Richard Mole (UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies), who also emphasises the role of religion on attitudes towards homosexuality.

A lively audience discussion follows these presentations, debating topics such as religion and Bentham's belief that religion should play no part in the law, population and climate change, conflicts around Bentham's views on population growth and happiness, contraception and the unintended negative consequences of philosophy.

To view video of other UCL IGH events or to find out more, use the links below:

Image: Jeremy Bentham

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The UCL Institute for Global Health is the hub bringing together UCL's immense multidisciplinary wealth of intellectual capital and international collaborations to provide innovative, workable solutions to global health at scale.