Bentham Jeremy


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Bentham Jeremy

(1748-1832) English legal, political and social theorist and social reformer, and one of the founders of modern philosophical UTILITARIANISM. As a legal theorist, Bentham challenged the adequacy of the COMMON LAW tradition; he was even more critical of conceptions of natural law (see NATURAL RIGHTS AND NATURAL LAW), which he described as ‘nonsense on stilts’. In place of these, Bentham advocated legislation and the general codification of laws, and LEGAL POSITIVISM. His interest in prison reform also led him to suggest designs for the modern prison – see PANOPTICAN.