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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the thought and works of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832). Since the late 1960s Bentham scholarship has been driven by the appearance of volumes in the new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, prepared by the Bentham Project under the supervision of University College London’s Bentham Committee. The thirty-third volume in the edition, entitled Preparatory Principles, was published in December 2016. Bentham was the pre-eminent representative of the Enlightenment. He was the founder of the doctrine of classical utilitarianism, which remains one of the main strands in liberal moral philosophy; he set the parameters for the modern discipline of jurisprudence by distinguishing law as it is from law as it ought to be; his commentary on the French Declaration of Rights of 1789 constitutes a devastating attack on the philosophy of natural rights, and hence on that of human rights.

Keywords: Jeremy Bentham, legal history, classical utilitarianism, liberal moral philosophy, jurisprudence, French Declaration of Rights of 1789, human rights

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