KNOWN AS THE FATHER of utilitarianism, English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was born on February 15, 1748, in Spitalfields, London, England, to Jeremiah and Alicia Grove Bentham. Bentham's father was a prosperous attorney, and he devoted a good deal of time to the education of his son, who had begun reading his father's books at the age of three. His father banned Bentham from reading for amusement, forcing him to focus on such subjects as history, Greek, and Latin. Bentham was sent to Oxford's Queens College at the age of 12. Because he had become financially independent after his father's death, Bentham could follow his own pursuits, and he was interested in reform.

Jeremy Bentham, a founder of utilitarianism, believed government should provide the greatest good ...

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