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Bentham, Jeremy (1748–1832)

Jeremy Bentham is known today chiefly as the father of utilitarianism. During his lifetime, Bentham was famous as the proponent of a scientific approach to social reform. Born in London, the son of an attorney, Bentham was a precocious child. He studied at Westminster school and Queen's College in Oxford, England. In 1763, he began the study of law at Lincoln's Inn, but spent much time carrying out chemical experiments in his chambers. In December of that year, he attended the Oxford lectures of England's most famous lawyer, Sir William Blackstone, author of the celebrated Commentaries on the Laws of England. He remarked later that he had immediately detected the fallacies in Blackstone's arguments. In 1776, he fiercely attacked the Commentaries for being hostile to ...

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