Jeremy Bentham was born on 15 February, 1748 in London, England
He was an English philosopher, economist and theoretical jurist, the earliest
and chief expounder of Utilitarianism.
Bentham never practiced law; he wrote a great deal of philosophy of law,
spending most of his life critiquing the existing law and strongly advocating
Bentham’s influence was minor during his life. But his impact was greater in
later years as his idea were carried on by followers such as John Stuart Mill,
John Austin, and other consequentialists.
At his death in London, on June 6, 1832, Bentham left literally tens of
thousands of manuscripts pages-some of which was work only sketched out, but all
of which he hoped would be prepared for publication.
Bentham Theory of Pain And Pleasure
- The physical sanction is purely natural because no interference by Being
occurs and it comes from the course of nature. This source states that most
operations in the world are only existent because of nature. Due to this
fact, pain and pleasure directly is caused by nature and its operations.
This sanction is a precursor to the succeeding sanctions because the later
sanctions involve modifications of interpositions of human and superior
- The political sanction is the sanction of pain/pleasure in environments
controlled by one person, or a set/community of people ruling. If something
causes pain or pleasure, and it comes from a government, it has
modifications by interposition of human beings. This succeeds the physical
sanction because this modification is included. I think that mostly pain is
derived from this sanction these days.
- The moral/popular sanction is the sanction where pain and pleasure is
derived if the body is at the hands of ‘chance people’ in the community.
People may have certain considerations with this person that has rule and
influence. This person also does not have ‘settled or concerted’ rule. This
chance person usually has no true ruling power as the figurehead of the
political sanction has. The chance person describes its own sanction because
of the moral and popular understandings and rulings that most of the
The religious sanction is the sanction bringing pain and pleasure when
things and decisions come from the direct hand of a superior invisible
being. Pain/pleasure stemming from this sanction does not have to be
effected exactly on the time the superior being acts. Unlike the physical,
popular and political sanctions, the religious sanction allows time shifts
in the effects (pain and pleasure) of the superior being. This sanction is
also doubly effective.
- Bentham includes here wealth, skill, and memory along with others. the
physical sanction is not doubly effective while others are. Simple it’s are
not doubly effective, therefore making them simple.
- Wealth gives success in society and happiness to some extent. It cannot
be understood a situation where wealth yields pain. some times where a
person is not altogether pleasured with the money he has, but there is
always some degree of that pleasure regardless, and no pain every comes out
- Skill is similar in that those who have skill of any kind can do some
sort of work giving them money to succeed. Skill always yields pleasure. The
skills allow a person to get hired and to sometimes become wealthy to some
- Memory also cannot yield anything except for pleasure. One has a lot of
good things happen to him or he has a skill. If he has memory, he can
remember the skill and also remember the good times he had in his life. To
Bentham, memory only yields pleasure.
Bentham exemplifies many pains. Pain of disappointment, regret and the senses.
When there is expectation, and nothing is yielded from that expectation, pain of
disappointment exists. This is simple because disappointment can never yield
pleasure. Pain of regret stems from regret of things grounded on pleasure or on
the memory of pleasure. Regret occurs when looking back on the memory or stance
of the pleasure because the person did not supposedly act upon that pleasure to
make it last.
This notion brings regret, and from regret only comes pain. Finally, pain is
yielded from the senses in various ways. These include hunger, thirst, bad
tastes, bad odors, pains of the touch (burns etc.), pains of hearing (too loud
etc.), pains of sight, extreme temperature pains, pains of disease, and the pain
Types of pleasureThe several simple pleasures, of which human nature is susceptible, seem to
be as follows:
- The pleasures of sense
- The pleasures of wealth
- The pleasures of skill
- The pleasures of amity
- The pleasures of a good name
- The pleasures of power
- The pleasures of piety
- The pleasures of benevolence
- The pleasures of malevolence
- The pleasures of memory
- The pleasures of imagination
- The pleasures of expectation
- The pleasures dependent on association
- The pleasures of relief
Types of PainThe several simple pains seem to be as follows:
- The pains of privation.
- The pains of the senses.
- The pains of awkwardness.
- The pains of enmity
- The pains of an ill name.
- The pains of piety.
- The pains of benevolence.
- The pains of malevolence.
- The pains of the memory.
- The pains of the imagination
- The pains of expectation
- The pains dependent on association.
Classification of Pleasure and Pain
Pleasure and Pain may be caused by:
- Various kinds of sensation
- Pleasure may be caused by the relief of pain and satisfaction of desire.
- Pain maybe caused by cessation of pleasure and frustration of desire.
According to Bentham, nature has placed mankind under governance of two
sovereign masters i.e. pleasure and pain. We owe them all our ideas; we
refer to them all our judgments and all the determination of life.
Seven Dimensions of Pleasure and Pain
Pleasure and pain can be scientifically calculated according to the following
seven criteria of the Hedonistic Calculus. These are:
- Intensity or how intense is it,
- Duration or how long it lasts,
- Certainty or how probable it is,
- Propinquity or how soon will the expected effects will become evident,
- Fecundity or the probability of leading to further pleasure,
- Purity or how free from pain it is,
- Extent or how widely it covers
- Bentham argues that individual pursuit may lead to greatest pain and
less pleasure to society and may not be right
- Bentham was the real originator of analytical jurisprudence.
- He explained the nature of law and its purpose through tool of analysis.
- He mainly relied on the doctrine of utility to which law ought to
- Relied on the doctrine of utility to measure the efficacy of law.
- He invented Expository Jurisprudence which mainly concerned with law as
it is without regard to its moral or immoral character.
- He insisted on the separation of law from morality.
- According to G.W Paton, Bentham’s brilliant insight in human behaviour
and shape of model law was the greatest contribution to European
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