The British Philosopher Jeremy Bentham - Who was he?

Jeremy Bentham, (born February 15, 1748, London, England—died June 6, 1832, London), English philosopher, economist, and theoretical jurist, the earliest and chief expounder of utilitarianism. The British philosopher Jeremy Bentham is considered the founder of the modern school of utilitarianism.

At the age of four, Bentham, the son of an attorney, is said to have read eagerly and to have begun the study of Latin. Much of his childhood was spent happily at his two grandmothers’ country houses. At Westminster School he won a reputation for writing Greek and Latin verse. In 1760 he went to Queen’s College, Oxford, and took his degree in 1763. In November he entered Lincoln’s Inn (see Inns of Court) to study law and took his seat as a student in the King’s Bench division of the High Court, where he listened with rapture to the judgments of Chief Justice Lord Mansfield.
The British Philosopher Jeremy Bentham

In December 1763 he managed to hear Sir William Blackstone lecture at Oxford but said that he immediately detected fallacies that underlay the grandiloquent language of the future judge. He spent his time performing chemical experiments and speculating upon the more theoretical aspects of legal abuses rather than reading law books. On being called to the bar, he “found a cause or two at nurse for him, which he did his best to put to death,” to the bitter disappointment of his father, who had confidently looked forward to seeing him become lord chancellor.

Bentham’s first book, A Fragment on Government, appeared in 1776. The subtitle, Being an Examination of What Is Delivered, on the Subject of Government in General, in the Introduction to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries, indicates the nature of the work. Bentham found the “grand and fundamental” fault of the Commentaries to be Blackstone’s “antipathy to reform.” Bentham’s book, written in a clear and concise style different from that of his later works, may be said to mark the beginning of philosophical radicalism.

It is also a very good essay on sovereignty. Lord Shelburne (afterward 1st marquess of Lansdowne), the statesman, read the book and called upon its author in 1781. Bentham became a frequent guest at Shelburne’s home. At this period Bentham’s mind was much occupied with writing the work that was later published in French in 1811 by his admirer Étienne Dumont and entitled Théorie des peines et des récompenses. This work eventually appeared in English as The Rationale of Reward (1825) and The Rationale of Punishment (1830).

In 1785 Bentham started, by way of Italy and Constantinople, on a visit to his brother, Samuel Bentham, an engineer in the Russian armed forces; and it was in Russia that he wrote his Defence of Usury (published 1787). This, his first essay in economics, presented in the form of a series of letters from Russia, shows him as a disciple of the economist Adam Smith but one who argued that Smith did not follow the logic of his own principles.

Bentham held that each individual was the best judge of his own advantage, that it was desirable from the public point of view that he should seek it without hindrance, and that there was no reason to limit the application of this doctrine in the matter of lending money at interest. His later works on political economy followed the laissez-faire principle, though with modifications. In the Manual of Political Economy (1800) he gave a list of what the state should and should not do, the second list being much longer than the first.

Bentham's method of estimating pleasures and pains can be applied to egoistic hedonism. With the addition of the utilitarian factor "extent" of pleasure, the hedonism can be extended to any number of persons.

Utilitarianism is the moral theory that an action is morally right if and only if it is productive of the most utility (happiness, pleasure) for the greatest number of persons. Bentham believed the right act is the act which of all those open to the agent, will actually or probably produce the greatest amount of pleasure in the world-at-large. Pleasure and pain form the basis of the standard of right and wrong.
Bentham lists benefit, advantage, good, or happiness as suitable paraphrases of pleasure. The good of the community is simply the sum of the pleasures of the individuals who compose it.
The main problem for the calculus is calculating the interpersonal utility comparison using cardinal utility measurement rather than ordinal measurement.

John Stuart Mill's addition of the quality of pleasures later ( in terms of higher and lower pleasures) is neglected for the moment since his distinction is patently qualitative rather than quantitative.
The major factors of sensations of pleasure and pain resulting from an action as outlined by Bentham are summarized by these variables.

The first four variables (intensity, duration, certainty, and propinquity) show the value of the pleasure or the pain "considered by itself." This phrase implies Bentham did not see pleasure and pain as polar concepts or contraries.

Bentham apparently thought intensity would vary from zero to infinity, but psychological data indicates an upper threshold of pleasure; hence, we can use an ordinal relation from 0 to 10. Pain could be measured in the same manner, where for both pleasure and pain, 0 represents indifference.

This article is based on the following scopes: 
Explain Jeremy Bentham's principle of utility, and briefly discuss the main components of his hedonic calculus as a quantitative measurement for calculating utility as a way of evaluating the ethical consequences of our actions. Bentham’s young protégé John Stuart Mill was also a strong proponent of utilitarianism. Discuss the main differences in their understanding of utilitarianism, and explain Mill sought to rescue the theory of utilitarianism from the charge of a “pig philosophy.” Finally, provide a detailed explanation of how an act utilitarian solution would differ from a rule utilitarian solution to the following ethical dilemma:
Three men are dying in the same hospital, one of heart disease, the second of kidney disease, the third of liver disease. A fourth man visits the hospital’s blood transfusion unit to donate a pint of blood. He is also known to be healthy in all respects; he has no relatives, and no close friends. The doctor knows about the circumstances of all four men, and when giving the healthy blood donor his initial blood test injects him with a fatal drug. The blood donor’s healthy organs are then used to replace the diseased organs of the other three men, all of whom have dependent families.

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