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date: 28 July 2021

Jeremy Bentham 1748–1832
English philosopher 

  1. Right…is the child of law: from real laws come real rights; but from imaginary laws, from laws of nature, fancied and invented by poets, rhetoricians, and dealers in moral and intellectual poisons, come imaginary rights, a bastard brood of monsters.
    Anarchical Fallacies in J. Bowring (ed.) Works vol. 2 (1843)
  2. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense—nonsense upon stilts.
    Anarchical Fallacies in J. Bowring (ed.) Works vol. 2 (1843)
  3. The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.
    Bentham claimed to have acquired the ‘sacred truth’ either from Joseph Priestley or Cesare Beccaria (1738–94)
    The Commonplace Book in J. Bowring (ed.) Works vol. 10 (1843); see Hutcheson
  4. All punishment is mischief: all punishment in itself is evil.
    Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) ch. 13, para. 2
  5. The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?
    Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) ch. 17
  6. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion, and the surest of all guards against improbity.
    Publicity in the Courts of Justice (1843)
  7. As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, because it is impossible to tell where it ends.
    Theory of Legislation (1864) ‘Principles of the Penal Code’
  8. Prose is when all the lines except the last go on to the end. Poetry is when some of them fall short of it.
    M. St J. Packe The Life of John Stuart Mill (1954)