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An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Dover Philosophical Classics)

11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486454528
ISBN-10: 0486454525
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`Dr Schofield's editorial work is exemplary, and greatly assists the reader. The editor's labours and scholarship are much to our profit. These writings add significantly to our knowledge of Bentham ... the paperback reissue of the definitive text of the Collected Works edition is very welcome.' Peter Nicholson, University of York, Political Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1, March '97 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Philosophical Classics
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486454525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486454528
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Bentham was an important social reformer and a major figure in the history of ethics. However you might not know it from reading this dense and forbidding tract. Even a short excerpt can be tough going. However, utilitarianism has been, and remains, one of the most influential ethical philosophies of all time, and this was among its modern founding documents.
If one can come away from it with a general sense of what utilitarianism is, what act utilitarianism is, and how it gets from egoism in psychology to neutralism in ethics, one has done pretty well. This should help the reader start thinking about what some of the problems with this theory are, how it measures up to its competitors, and how it can be applied to specific problems.
The best news for those who have braved this text is that Mill and other later thinkers will seem like poetry in motion by comparison.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on December 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ['ben??m]) (February 15, 1748 - June 6, 1832) was an English gentleman, jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He is best known as an early advocate of utilitarianism and animal rights.

Bentham was one of the most influential (classical) liberals, partially through his writings but particularly through his students all around the world, including John Stuart Mill and several political leaders.

He argued in favor of individual and economic freedom, including the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, animal rights, the end of slavery, the abolition of physical punishment (also of children), the right to divorce, free trade, and no restrictions on interest. But, he was not a libertarian, and supported inheritance tax, restrictions on monopoly power, pensions, and health insurance.

In 1776, Bentham published his Fragment on Government anonymously, a criticism of Blackstone's Commentaries, and in 1780 his Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation was published.

A truly influential author!
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Format: Paperback
Jeremy Bentham's Bentham Utilitarianism is essentially based on his desire to move away from the moral philosophy of Judeo-Christian ethics ,or the deism of Adam Smith, and move toward a philosophy that could under pin an atheistic perspective.Bentham wants to come up with a decision making calculus which is simultaneously applicable to issues in economics(politics)and ethics(morals).Bentham claims that for all actions there are two distinctly measurable outcomes,pain and pleasure. Bentham comes up with a Principle of Utility(p.1).This essentially boils down to the observation that positive utility(pleasure) is generated by activities that generate sensations of pleasure while negative utility(pain) is generated by activities which generate sensations of pain.One can approve or disapprove of any action to the extent that it increases happiness(pleasure)or decreases pain.Approve ,in Bentham's system,translates as good or right.Disapprove,in Benthams system, translates as bad or wrong.How is this system implemented ? Bentham claims that there are lots(units) of pleasure and pain that all decisionmakers can calculate precisely and exactly.The value of the lots will be more or less depending on the duration,intensity,and certainty of the pleasure.All actions are equally good if the sum of the amounts of pleasure resulting from each action is equal.This is where economists come up with their indifference curve analysis and hedonic calculus.Unfortunately,Bentham fails miseribly in his attempt to demonstrate that human decision makers have the capacity to calculate exactly in quantitative terms.He never answers the question ," How do humans actually make the quantitative calculations ? ", upon which Bentham's entire edifice of decision amking is so precariously balanced .He merely asserts it:" ...Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition
Bentham's ideas are brilliant. However, a reader should be aware that his work is dense, difficult, and often hard to decipher. I found his arguments to be some of the most applicable to my training as a social scientist, but that was largely after a thorough review of his work and lengthy discussions with those more knowledgeable of his arguments.
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By rogsonl on February 27, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a real classic, and should not need to be graded. While utilitarianism isn't complete and requires bounds that may be provided by Kant, it is an appealing and effective way to manage litigation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bentham is much more sophisticated in his thinking than many realize.He is the most important political phllosopher of all time.
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