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A collection of Quotes by Jeremy Bentham about rights, animal rights, law, happiness, liberty, pain, suffering, utility, law, power, nature, truth, government, truth, greatest happiness etc.

62 Enlightening Quotes By Jeremy Bentham For A Better World

Famous As: Philosopher
Born On: February 15, 1748
Died On: June 6, 1832
Born In: Spitalfields
Died At Age: 84

Regarded as the founding father of modern Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham was a prominent English reformer, jurist and philosopher. Bentham was also an advocate of modern liberalism and legal positivism. His main areas of interest comprised of political philosophy, philosophy of law, ethics and economics. Bentham was heavily influenced by the radical ideas of development of welfarism. Therefore, he propagated for freedom of expression, equal rights for women, individual and economic freedom, abolition of slavery, abolition of capital punishment, the right to divorce, decriminalization of homosexual acts and animal rights. Bentham’s disciples, including James Mill, John Austin and Robert Owen, were founders of the modern utopian socialism. He is also tagged as the “spiritual founder” of the University College of London due to his support for general availability of education for all. Bentham is also well-known for his ‘greatest happiness principle’, which states that ‘it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong’. Being a great thinker, philosopher and theorist, he expressed his views on several subjects across politics, society, legal system and economics. We have curated his quotes and sayings from his great works, speeches, and observations. Here is a collection of some of the greatest quotes from this extraordinary social reformer from 18th century England.

The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but "Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham

...the rarest of all human qualities is consistency.

Jeremy Bentham

Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.

Jeremy Bentham

Happiness is a very pretty thing to feel, but very dry to talk about.

Jeremy Bentham

No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.

Jeremy Bentham

Every law is an infraction of liberty.

Jeremy Bentham

Is it possible for a man to move the earth? Yes; but he must first find out another earth to stand upon.

Jeremy Bentham

Reputation is the road to power

Jeremy Bentham

Tyranny and anarchy are never far apart.

Jeremy Bentham

Nonsense on stilts

Jeremy Bentham

The question is not can they reason nor can they talk but can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham

The quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry.

Jeremy Bentham

Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.

Jeremy Bentham

If Christianity needed an Anti-Christ, they needed look no farther than Paul.

Jeremy Bentham

A civilized society must count animals as worthy of moral consideration and ethical treatment. The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham

It is with government as with medicine, its only business is the choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty.

Jeremy Bentham

Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove.

Jeremy Bentham

Happy life and merciful death

Jeremy Bentham

O Logic: born gatekeeper to the Temple of Science, victim of capricious destiny: doomed hitherto to be the drudge of pedants: come to the aid of thy master, Legislation

Jeremy Bentham

The request of industry to government is as modest as that of Diogenes to Alexander: Get out of my light.

Jeremy Bentham

All poetry is misrepresentation.

Jeremy Bentham

Want keeps pace with dignity. Destitute of the lawful means of supporting his rank, his dignity presents a motive for malversation, and his power furnishes the means.

Jeremy Bentham

Those physical difficulties which you cannot account for, be very slow to arraign; for he that would be wiser than Nature would be wiser than God.

Jeremy Bentham

Right... is the child of law.

Jeremy Bentham

Among the several cloudy appellatives which have been commonly employed as cloaks for misgovernment, there is none more conspicuous in this atmosphere of illusion than the word Order.

Jeremy Bentham

The question is not can animals speak but can they suffer.

Jeremy Bentham

All government is a trust. Every branch of government is a trust, and immemorially acknowledged to be so.

Jeremy Bentham

How is property given? By restraining liberty; that is, by taking it away so far as necessary for the purpose. How is your house made yours? By debarring every one else from the liberty of entering it without your leave.

Jeremy Bentham

There is no pestilence in a state like a zeal for religion, independent of morality.

Jeremy Bentham

Without publicity, no good is permanent; under the auspices of publicity, no evil can continue.

Jeremy Bentham

Unkind language is sure to produce the fruits of unkindness--that is, suffering in the bosom of others.

Jeremy Bentham

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

Jeremy Bentham

Lawyers sometimes tell the truth. They'll do anything to win a case.

Jeremy Bentham

Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes ...

Jeremy Bentham

Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense—nonsense upon stilts.

Jeremy Bentham

I don't care whether animals are capable of thinking; all I care about is that they are capable of suffering!

Jeremy Bentham

It is vain to talk of the interest of the community, without understanding what is the interest of the individual

Jeremy Bentham

The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.

Jeremy Bentham

All punishment is mischief; all punishment in itself is evil.

Jeremy Bentham

Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government.

Jeremy Bentham

The age we live in is a busy age; in which knowledge is rapidly advancing towards perfection.

Jeremy Bentham

It is vain to talk of the interest of the community, without understanding what is the interest of the individual.

Jeremy Bentham

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.

Jeremy Bentham

The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.

Jeremy Bentham

As to the evil which results from a censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends.

Jeremy Bentham

Lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished.

Jeremy Bentham

The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'

Jeremy Bentham

The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation.

Jeremy Bentham

The power of the lawyer is in the uncertainty of the law.

Jeremy Bentham

It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people which is the measure of right and wrong.

Jeremy Bentham

He who thinks and thinks for himself, will always have a claim to thanks; it is no matter whether it be right or wrong, so as it be explicit. If it is right, it will serve as a guide to direct; if wrong, as a beacon to warn.

Jeremy Bentham

The principle of asceticism never was, nor ever can be, consistently pursued by any living creature. Let but one tenth part of the inhabitants of the earth pursue it consistently, and in a day's time they will have turned it into a Hell.

Jeremy Bentham

Create all the happiness you are able to create: remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you to add something to the pleasure of others, or to diminish something of their pains. And for every grain of enjoyment you sow in the bosom of another, you shall find a harvest in your own bosom; while every sorrow which you pluck out from the thoughts and feelings of a fellow creature shall be replaced by beautiful peace and joy in the sanctuary of your soul.

Jeremy Bentham

By utility is meant that property is any object, whereby it tends to produce benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, or happiness(all this in the present case come to the same thing) or (what comes again to the same thing) to prevent the happening of mischief, pain, evil or unhappiness to the party who whose is considered: if that party be the community in general, then the happiness of the community; if a particular individual; then the happiness of that individual

Jeremy Bentham

Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure... they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it.

Jeremy Bentham

What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes...

Jeremy Bentham

Kind words cost no more than unkind ones . . . and we may scatter the seeds of courtesy and kindliness around us at so little expense. If you would fall into any extreme let it be on the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists vigor and yields to softness.

Jeremy Bentham

Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, --will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, --or to diminish something of their pains.

Jeremy Bentham

Lawsuits generally originate with the obstinate and the ignorant, but they do not end with them; and that lawyer was right who left all his money to the support of an asylum for fools and lunatics, saying that from such he got it, and to such he would bequeath it.

Jeremy Bentham

We may scatter the seeds of courtesy and kindness about us at little expense. Some of them will fall on good ground, and grow up into benevolence in the minds of others, and all of them will bear fruit of happiness in the bosom whence they spring.

Jeremy Bentham

Judges of elegance and taste consider themselves as benefactors to the human race, whilst they are really only the interrupters of their pleasure ... There is no taste which deserves the epithet good, unless it be the taste for such employments which, to the pleasure actually produced by them, conjoin some contingent or future utility: there is no taste which deserves to be characterized as bad, unless it be a taste for some occupation which has mischievous tendency.

Jeremy Bentham

The offence is what is improperly called the death of an infant, who has ceased to be, before knowing what existence is, a result of a nature not to give the slightest inquietude to the most timid imagination; and which can cause no regrets but to the very person who, through a sentiment of shame and pity, has refused to prolong a life begun under the auspices of misery.

Jeremy Bentham