The philosophy of Jeremiah Bentham had little to do with abstract reflections. The scientist put the urgent needs of practical life at the basis of his system. Bentham's ideas did not arise from scratch. He learned a lot from his predecessors. Among them are Helvetius, Hume, Priestley, Paley.
Jeremiah Bentham: facts from the biography
The future famous philosopher was born on February 15, 1748 in London. His father was a lawyer. Bentham was educated at Westminster School and Queens College at Oxford University. After that, he entered the law school.
After a while, the young man became disillusioned with jurisprudence. He decided to study the social, political and legal system and find ways to eliminate the deficiencies inherent in society.
Having set himself the daunting task of reforming society, Bentham faced a problem: to begin with, he needed to systematize his views and substantiate the ideas that worried him.
Bentham's philosophical system later received the name utilitarianism. The scientist himself called his views "the principle of the greatest happiness."
The founder of utilitarianism
As one of the founders of a new direction in philosophy, Bentham is rightfully considered one of the legal theorists of his era. The scientist has published many works on the theory of law, on civil, criminal and international law and criminal procedure. All scientific views of Bentham can be summarized in one concept with a philosophical and legal content.
The current interest in the works of the English philosopher is explained by the fact that the ideas expressed by him can be applied to the problems facing modern jurisprudence. We are talking about the problems of the methodology of researching legal issues, the goals of lawmaking, the nature of property. Bentham considered and clarified the concept of signs of a crime, studied the advantages of various sources of law, advocated the differentiation of responsibility for crimes.
Bentham's views formed the basis of bourgeois constitutionalism and the doctrine of individual rights and freedoms in a bourgeois state.
In the views of Bentham, there is a striving for empirical knowledge about law, which can be based on empirical data. In his famous work "Introduction to the principles of morality and legislation", published in 1789, the scientist formulated "the principle of greatest happiness." Bentham puts forward the principle of utility as "happiness." Morality and law must be one, the philosopher argued. And social relations are flexible and dynamic, but at the same time stable.
Philosopher in search of truth and justice
Bentham's scientific research influenced many of his followers. He made a significant contribution to the formation of the most important principles on which systems of law are built in modern states. One of these principles is the equality of subjects of legal relations in the implementation of activities permitted by law.
Bentham substantiated the need for constant improvement of legislation, the purpose of which is to build a system of guarantees and protection of the interests of legal entities in society.
Jeremiah Bentham passed away on June 6, 1832 in the capital of Great Britain. He bequeathed his fortune to a London hospital. But on one condition: he demanded that his body be present at board meetings. The will was fulfilled. The scientist's remains were dressed up in a costume, and a wax mask was created on his face.