Birthplace London, England.
Post Held Private income.
Degrees BA, MA Univ. Oxford, 1763, 1766.
Offices Called to the bar, 1817.
Publications Books: 1. A Fragment on Government (1776, 1951); 2. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1780, 1823, 1948); 3. Rationale of Judicial Evidence , 5 vols, ed. J. S. Mill (1827); 4. The Works of Jeremy Bentham , 11 vols., ed. J. Bowring (1838-43, 1962); 5. Jeremy Bentham's Economic Writings, 3 vols., ed. W. Stark (1952); 6. The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, 36 vols., ed. J. Burns (1968-in progress).
Career Bentham is remembered both as a pioneer of social science and as a tireless advocate of administarative, legal and praliamentary reform. He found in the principle of utility, and in particular in his notorious `felicific calculus', an exact standard by which questions of reform could be settled. The reforms he pressed for were directed towards his four ends of good government: subsistence, abundance, security and equality. He interpreted the economics of Adam Smith in the light of the search for abundance and advocated a state which provided guaranteed employment, minimum wages and a variety of social benefits. Much of his influence on ideas and legistation was through a small but enthusiastic circle of pupils and disciples, amongst whom were many economists, including Ricardo, and James and John Stuart Mill. Only a small portion of his vast literary output was publisched in his own lifetime, and a complete edition of his works projected in 36 volumes is still in preparation. Even his strictly economic writings, a small part of the whole, contain many remarkable contributions that have only come to be properly apprecitated in recent times.
Secondary Literature M. P. Mack, `Bentham, Jeremy', International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences , D. L. Sills (ed.) (Macmillan and Free Press, 1968), vol. 2.