An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

Jeremy BENTHAM (1748 - 1832)

Jeremy Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, a classic text in modern philosophy and jurisprudence, first published in 1789, focuses on the principle of utility and how this view of morality ties into legislative practices. Bentham's ambition in life was to create a complete Utilitarian code of law. The philosophy of utilitarianism argues that the right act or policy is that which would cause "the greatest good for the greatest number of people", also known as "the greatest happiness principle", or the principle of utility.

Bentham's principle of utility regards "good" as that which produces the greatest amount of pleasure, and the minimum amount of pain; and "evil" as that which produces the most pain without the pleasure. This concept of pleasure and pain is defined by Bentham as physical as well as spiritual. Bentham writes about this principle as it manifests itself within the legislation of a society. He lays down a set of criteria for measuring the extent of pain or pleasure that a certain decision will create.

Bentham argues that certain unnecessary laws and punishments could ultimately lead to new and more dangerous vices than those being punished to begin with. He is of opinion that the concept of the individual pursuing his or her own happiness cannot be necessarily declared "right", because often these individual pursuits can lead to greater pain and less pleasure for the society as a whole. Therefore, the legislation of a society is vital to maintaining a society with optimum pleasure and the minimum degree of pain for the greatest amount of people. (Summary adapted from wikipedia)

Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Jc Guan & Anna Simon

Genre(s): *Non-fiction, Philosophy, Political Science

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 - Preface Jc Guan
00:28:23
Play 01 01 - Chapter 1: Of the Principle of Utility Claude Banta
00:18:57
Play 02 02 - Chapter 2: Of Principles Adverse to that of Utility Anna Simon
00:47:56
Play 03 03 - Chapter 3: Of the Four Sanctions or Sources of Pain and Pleasure Ruth Golding
00:09:29
Play 04 04 - Chapter 4: Value of a Lot of Pleasure, How to be Measured skoval
00:09:41
Play 05 05 - Chapter 5: Pleasures and Pains, Their Kinds Ruth Golding
00:19:52
Play 06 06a - Chapter 6, part a: Of Circumstances Influencing Sensibility Jc Guan
00:37:27
Play 07 06b - Chapter 6, part b: Of Circumstances Influencing Sensibility Jc Guan
01:14:15
Play 08 07 - Chapter 7: Of Human Actions in General gogoblue
00:37:14
Play 09 08 - Chapter 8: Of Intentionality Jc Guan
00:19:52
Play 10 09 - Chapter 9: Of Consciousness Jc Guan
00:20:52
Play 11 10a - Chapter 10, part a: Of Motives Jc Guan
00:25:21
Play 12 10b - Chapter 10, part b: Of Motives Jc Guan
00:49:43
Play 13 10c - Chapter 10, part c: Of Motives Jc Guan
00:27:08
Play 14 11 - Chapter 11: Of Human Dispositions in General Aringguth
00:46:32
Play 15 12 - Chapter 12: Of the Consequences of a Mischievous Act Claude Banta
00:34:07
Play 16 13 - Chapter 13: Of Cases Unmeet for Punishment Gary Gilberd
00:21:46
Play 17 14 - Chapter 14: Of the Proportion Between Punishments and Offences Sean Michael Hogan
00:26:04
Play 18 15 - Chapter 15: Of the Properties to be Given to a Lot of Punishment Anna Simon
00:29:36
Play 19 16-1 - Chapter 16, paragraph 1: Classes of Offences lucidish
00:06:07
Play 20 16-2a - Chapter 16, paragraph 2, part a: Divisions and sub-divisions lucidish
00:31:05
Play 21 16-2b - Chapter 16, paragraph 2, part b: Divisions and sub-divisions Anna Simon
00:31:08
Play 22 16-3a - Chapter 16, paragraph 3, part a: Genera of Class I Ruth Golding
00:33:28
Play 23 16-3b - Chapter 16, paragraph 3, part b: Genera of Class I Annise
00:28:32
Play 24 16-3c - Chapter 16, paragraph 3, part c: Genera of Class I Ruth Golding
00:36:52
Play 25 16-3d - Chapter 16, paragraph 3, part d: Genera of Class I Annise
00:25:47
Play 26 16-4 - Chapter 16, paragraph 4: Advantages of the present method Anna Simon
00:11:37
Play 27 16-5 - Chapter 16, paragraph 5: Characters of the five classes May Low
00:14:20
Play 28 17 - Chapter 17: Of the Limits of the Penal Branch of Jurisprudence May Low
01:10:50