Top 10 most inspiring quotes by Jeremy Bentham
- Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.
- Is it possible for a man to move the earth? Yes; but he must first find out another earth to stand upon.
- No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.
- The question is not can they reason nor can they talk but can they suffer?
- He who thinks and thinks for himself, will always have a claim to thanks; it is no matter whether it be right or wrong, so as it be explicit. If it is right, it will serve as a guide to direct; if wrong, as a beacon to warn.
- It is with government as with medicine, its only business is the choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty.
- If Christianity needed an Anti-Christ, they needed look no farther than Paul.
- Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.
- All government is a trust. Every branch of government is a trust, and immemorially acknowledged to be so.
- Want keeps pace with dignity. Destitute of the lawful means of supporting his rank, his dignity presents a motive for malversation, and his power furnishes the means.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer known for his contributions to utilitarianism, a philosophical theory that advocates maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering as the ultimate goal of moral and political actions.
Born in London on February 15, 1748, Bentham was the son of a prosperous attorney. He began studying law at the age of 12 and went on to attend Queen’s College, Oxford, where he developed a keen interest in philosophy and legal reform. Bentham was strongly influenced by the Enlightenment ideals of reason, individual freedom, and social progress.
Bentham’s most significant work, “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,” was published in 1789 and laid out the foundations of utilitarianism. According to Bentham, actions should be judged based on their ability to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. He argued for the need to reform laws and institutions to create a more equitable and utilitarian society.
In addition to his philosophical pursuits, Bentham actively engaged in social and legal reforms. He advocated for prison reform, proposing the panopticon, a prison design that allowed constant surveillance of inmates to prevent misconduct. Although the panopticon was not widely implemented, it influenced discussions on prison design and the concept of surveillance.
Bentham’s ideas had a profound impact on political and legal thought. He called for the codification and simplification of laws, arguing for transparent legal systems accessible to all. Bentham also advocated for the separation of church and state and the extension of voting rights.
Jeremy Bentham died on June 6, 1832, in London. His body was preserved and displayed in a cabinet at University College London as per his request. Bentham’s philosophy continues to be influential, and his utilitarian principles have shaped debates on ethics, politics, and social justice. His ideas have been both praised and criticized, but his contributions to moral and legal philosophy remain significant.
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