Jeremy Bentham Pain and Pleasure

Jeremy Bentham was born on February 15, 1748, in Houndsditch, London(World of Sociology). He died on June 6, 1832, in his home in Westminster, London, where he allowed his body be dissected when he finally died(World of Sociology).His parents were Alicia Grove Whitehorne, who had a mix of pious superstition and Jeremiah Bentham, who was an Enlightened rationalist(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). When he was three years old he started studying at age seven and went to Westminster school(World of Sociology). In 1760, he attended Queen's College, Oxford and while he was there got a bachelor's degree in 1764(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). He then went onto study at Lincoln's Inn to prepare for a career as a barrister. Bentham attended the Courts of King's Bench, where he received his masters degree(World of Sociology). He studied law at Lincoln's Inn and qualified to do so, instead he devoted his life to writing on the theoretical form of legal system, the legal reform(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). His father died in 1792, leaving him the family estate and making him an independently wealthy man that allowed him to study and continue all of his works(World of Sociology).Many other reformers such as Edwin Chadwick were inspired by his work which eventually spread all over when more and more people were learning about it and being influenced by it(A History Of Western Society). It allowed Chadwick to finally realize that disease and death caused poverty, and that the government could help prevent disease by cleaning the environment, laws were made and utilitarianism was spread(A History of Western Society).

He began to center himself in English intellectual life. He produced works on social causes(World of Sociology). Bentham was involved in developing projects that proposed various practical ideas for the reform of social institutions(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). He wrote a famous piece, called, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation(1789), where he reflected "the greatest happiness principle"(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). He writes:

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it.

Living in the age of Industrial Revolution, the rise of middle class, and revolutions in France and America he was surrounded by major social, political and economic change(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). Utilitarianism described satisfaction as the ability to produce the greatest happiness for society in general and the principle was introduced in his work, A Fragment on Government(World of Sociology). From this idea, Bentham had gained followers, who were Philosophical Radicals. They defined happiness as good and pleasure and claim to be that pleasure could be measured through the "felicific calculus", which is calculating the degree or amount of pleasure that a specific action is likely to cause (World of Sociology). He introduced that individuals cared only about themselves, "but that an individual should do what brought the greatest good for the greatest number"(World of Sociology). He believes that "community is a fictitious body" and that the idea of relation is "fictitious"(Jeremy Bentham 1748-1842). Fictitious, meaning not real. He believes that humans are ruled by two things: pleasure and pain. Bentham is influenced by many people in history. David Hume and David Hartley allowed Bentham to analysis "habit". Also David Hume, had an impact on Bentham's "account of the underlying principles of psychological associatiationism and on his articulation of the principle of utility"(World of Sociology). John Locke also influenced him with his idea of human nature(World of Sociology). Those ideas all lead to the Bacterial Revolution, meaning without Benthams ideas the realization of the germ theory, that disease was caused by the spread of living organisms that could be controlled would have never been discovered. That realization then lead to medicine discoveries and decreasing death rates(A History of Western Society). In modern day, Bentham is well known for his moral philosophy, especially his idea of utilitarianism.

Work cited

"Jeremy Bentham." World of Sociology, Gale, 2001. Biography in Context, Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

Sweet, William. "Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Its Authors, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017

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