Cover of Bentham by Edited by William Twining
Selected Writings of John Dinwiddy
Edited by William Twining


208 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804745192


Excerpts and More

Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, made a powerful impact on several major areas of thought and policy: ethics, jurisprudence, political and constitutional theory, and social and administrative reform. Yet from the start his ideas have been subject to misunderstanding and caricature. John Dinwiddy's Bentham is regarded as the best introduction to this important jurist and reformer.

Dinwiddy examines the various components of Bentham's philosophy and shows how each was shaped by the radical rethinking entailed by the utilitarian approach. He also discusses interpretations of Benthamism and its contemporary significance and the controversial question of Bentham's influence on reform.

Bentham is reproduced here in full together with three classic essays that deal with key issues in understanding Bentham: his conversion to political radicalism, the relations between private and public ethics, and his theory of adjudication. A new introduction and select bibliography by William Twining set the context and survey the developments in Bentham studies since the book's original publication in 1989.

About the authors

John Dinwiddy (1939-1990) was Professor of Modern History at Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges, University of London. He was General Editor of The Collected Works of Jeremy Benthem from 1977 to 1983 and a leading Bentham scholar. William Twining FBA, QC (hon.) is Research Professor of Law at University College London. He is General Editor of the Jurists series.

“These essays, penned in an accessible style, provide one of the best starting points for an engagement with the arguments of one of the most revered and reviled utilitarian theorists.”—The Law and Politics Book Review