Utilitarianism and Other Essays (Classics) Paperback – 31 Dec 2000
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About the Author
John Stuart Mill (1806 - 73) formed the Utilitarian Society which met to read and discuss essays. His works include On LIberty and Principles of Political Economy.
Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) set out to theorize a simple and equitable legal system. The law of utility, for which is best remembered, states that the goodness of a law can be measured in accordance with the measure in which it subserves the happiness of hte individual.
Alan Ryan is Warden of New College, Oxford and is currently on sabbatical in Stanford. His other books include Property and Political Theory and Bertrand Russell: A Political Life.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoy mulling over Jurisprudence and philosophy and this book has made me aware of some of the most influential and famous legal models and philosophical views. But all credit should not go merely to Bentham and Mill, whose thoughts and analysis produced the backbone of the topic but also to Alan Ryan, whose incredibly well written introduction enlightened me to, and taught me a substantial part of, the concepts within the book. Ryan relates all the concepts and models to everyday situations which makes everything so digestible and understandable. The entire book is also less verbose and less wordy than I expected it to be.
All in all, a very good read for anybody interested in Jurisprudence, Philosophy or Law. Excellent read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The writting styles of the two are blatantly different, James being the pragmatical dogmatist who accepted no exception to his utilitarian praecepts, Mill, on the contrary, the soft-minded scholar who diligently tried to mend the many defficiencies of a theory so rigidly framed and which was supposed to answer to all demands of human action. This dogmatism by Bentham, forced Mill later in life to abscond that doctrine, althoug never converting himself to any religion creed. Worthy of mention if the superb introduction by Alan Ryan, being a book on utilitarianism in itself.
The philosophy whose great inventor was Jeremy Bentham built itself upon the idea of a calculus of pleasures and pains, an almost mechanical measuring of feeling.
However the complexity, contradictory quality of our inner life suggest that any calculation of this type has a certain shallowness and illegitimacy about it.
In any case Mill's idea of utilitarianism does connect with his conception of Liberalism, and does have effect on his later thought even as he rejected most of it.