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Title: The political and moral thought of Jeremy Bentham (a revaluation)
Author: Graham, John Freele
ISNI:       0000 0001 3509 6370
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1978
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This thesis is a revaluation of Bentham by means of a critical review of previous interpretations and an examination of aspects of his writings which have been ignored or under-emphasized until now. The thesis maintains that a philosophic statement can only be understood in terms of the question it was meant to answer, and identifies Bentham's philosophic question as "what is a law?. " The thesis then explores the particular viewpoint on politics which this question generated--essentially a conception of the state as a legal association. From Bentham's analytic treatment of the state in terms of positive law, the thesis moves to an examination of the state as moral association. The thesis examines Bentham's conception of democracy, particularly his assumptions on psychology and the nature of civil society. The thesis examines Bentham's new criterion of legitimacy, his conceptions of the sociological foundations of democracy, and the limitations he placed on state action. The thesis makes a critical evaluation of Bentham's democratic theory, focusing on problems in the concept of an open society, Bentham's notion of political debate, and the appropriateness of Bentham's political order to technological society. The thesis concludes with an examination of a mode of thought which has been termed 'rationalism in politics'. After summarizing the criticisms of this mode of thought, the thesis attempts to show that they are either inapplicable to Bentham or erroneous arguments. This is accomplished in the context of Bentham's conception of political reform, the relationship between theory and practice, his epistemological assumptions, and his comments on tradition and history. The thesis concludes
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available