Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Bentham around the World

Just out from Talbot Publishing: Bentham Around the World, edited by Simon Palmer and Zhai Xiaobo.  It is a title in the JCL Studies in Comparative Law, Second Series.

This collection of essays covers the reception of Jeremy Bentham's legal and political thought in a variety of different countries and historical periods. Authors from around the world explore how Bentham's utilitarian program of legal and political reform was disseminated (and sometimes distorted) in the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, Italy, Spain and Australia. Themes or issues shared amongst the essays include the prominent role Etienne Dumont's famous redactions of Bentham's texts played in the early international reception of Bentham's thought, the ways in which Bentham's theories of law and government both succeeded and failed to penetrate political cultures that possessed natural law leanings and, relatedly, the apparent philosophical plasticity of Bentham's thinking (from which both liberal and authoritarian traditions have tried to profit). Together, the essays offer a fresh perspective on the relationship between Bentham's legal and political thought and the global history of utilitarianism.
–Dan Ernst