Secular Utilitarianism: Social Science and the Critique of Religion in the Thought of Jeremy Bentham (Hardback)
  • Secular Utilitarianism: Social Science and the Critique of Religion in the Thought of Jeremy Bentham (Hardback)
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Secular Utilitarianism: Social Science and the Critique of Religion in the Thought of Jeremy Bentham (Hardback)

(author)
£165.00
Hardback 360 Pages / Published: 14/06/1990
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Jeremy Bentham was an ardent secularist convinced that society could be sustained without the support of religious institutions or beliefs. This is writ large in the commonly neglected books on religion he wrote and published during the last twenty-five years of his life. However his earliest writings on the subject date from the 1770s, when as a young man he first embarked on his calling as a legal theorist and social reformer. From that time on, religion was never far from the centre of his thoughts. In Secular Utilitarianism, James Crimmins illustrates the nature, extent, and depth of Jeremy Bentham's concern with religion, from his Oxford days of first doubts to the middle years of quiet unbelief, and finally, the zealous atheism and secularism of his later life. Dr Crimmins provides an interpretation of Bentham's thought in which his religious views, hitherto of little interest to Bentham scholars, are shown to be integral: on the one hand intimately associated with the metaphysical, epistemological, and psychological principles which gave shape to his system as a whole, and on the other central to the development of his entirely secular view of society.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198277415
Number of pages: 360
Weight: 586 g
Dimensions: 223 x 147 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'well-researched, meticulous, reliable and full of information' Times Higher Education Supplement
'This is an important work which will shatter many a popular preconception of Bentham. Indispensable for all historians of ideas, ethics and philosophy students.' Ian S. Markham, University of Exeter, Theological Book Review
`Professor Crimmins has provided a very scholarly and readable addition to the Bentham literature.' Utilitas
`his discussion of the context of these various texts is an impressive piece of scholarship which will be of value not only to Bentham scholars, but to historians of early nineteenth-century British politics' Political Studies
'a very scholarly and readable addition to the Bentham literature ... Crimmins exhibits (with punctilious referencing) a detailed familiarity with Bentham's published works, and with the Bentham manuscripts' Utilitas
`Crimmins' objectives in this scholarly and closely-argued book are twofold; to describe and explain Bentham's attitude to religion throughout his career and to show how his religious writings were integrally related to the development of a secular utilitarian utopia ... Crimmins' thesis is certainly interesting and well documented and is likely to carry much conviction. His detailed discussion of the context of Bentham's anti-religious and Church-reform writings will be of interest far beyond the sphere of Bentham studies ... of considerable value. It is the only scholarly discussion of Bentham's writings and their historical context. However the real significance of this book is that, whatever view one may take of its conclusions, the account of Bentham's social science is something that all subsequent writers will have to take seriously. For those interested in Bentham and the classical utilitarians this book is essential reading.' History of Political Thought
`Curious readers, wishing to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between religion and utilitarianism and a range of associated issues, are warmly recommended James Crimmins' work ... the feeling of the book is of a thoroughly researched piece by an author who, though himself intimately familiar with his subject, also has the ability to provide readers with a general understanding of Bentham's work with an insight into a considerably deeper level of knowledge' British Journal for 18th Century Studies

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