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“The question is not, "Can they reason?" nor, "Can they talk?" but "Can they suffer?”
Jeremy Bentham (An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Philosophical Classics), The Principles of Morals and Legislation
“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
“...the rarest of all human qualities is consistency.”
Jeremy Bentham
“What other agents then are there, which, at the same time that they are under the influence of man's direction, are susceptible of happiness? They are of two sorts: (1) Other human beings who are styled persons. (2) Other animals, which, on account of their interests having been neglected by the insensibility of the ancient jurists, stand degraded into the class of things... But is there any reason why we should be suffered to torment them? Not any that I can see. Are there any why we should not be suffered to torment them? Yes, several. The day has been, I grieve to say in many places it is not yet past, in which the greater part of the species, under the denomination of slaves, have been treated by the law exactly upon the same footing as, in England for example, the inferior races of animals are still. 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. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. 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 a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case 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, The Principles of Morals and Legislation
“Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet. ”
Jeremy Bentham
“. . . in no instance has a system in regard to religion been ever established, but for the purpose, as well as with the effect of its being made an instrument of intimidation, corruption, and delusion, for the support of depredation and oppression in the hands of governments.”
Jeremy Bentham, Constitutional Code; For the Use All Nations and All Governments Professing Liberal Opinions Volume 1
“Happiness is a very pretty thing to feel, but very dry to talk about.”
Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings
“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. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. 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. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire: but in reality he will remain subject to it all the while. The principle of utility recognizes this subjection, and assumes it for the foundation of that system, the object of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by the hands of reason and of law. Systems which attempt to question it, deal in sounds instead of sense, in caprice instead of reason, in darkness instead of light.”
Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation
“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, Constitutional Code; For the Use All Nations and All Governments Professing Liberal Opinions Volume 1
“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
“Bodies are real entities. Surfaces and lines are but fictitious entities. A surface without depth, a line without thickness, was never seen by any man; no; nor can any conception be seriously formed of its existence.”
Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings
“The quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry.”
Jeremy Bentham
“If a man happen to take it into his head to assassinate with his own hands, or with the sword of justice, those whom he calls heretics, that is, people who think, or perhaps only speak, differently upon a subject which neither party understands, he will be as much inclined to do this at one time as at another. Fanaticism never sleeps: it is never glutted: it is never stopped by philanthropy; for it makes a merit of trampling on philanthropy: it is never stopped by conscience; for it has pressed conscience into its service. Avarice, lust, and vengeance, have piety, benevolence, honour; fanaticism has nothing to oppose it.”
Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
“The rarest of all human qualities is consistency.”
Jeremy Bentham
“Nonsense on stilts”
Jeremy Bentham
“Tyranny and anarchy are never far apart.”
Jeremy Bentham
“In the mind of all, fiction, in the logical sense, has been the coin of necessity;—in that of poets of amusement—in that of the priest and the lawyer of mischievous immorality in the shape of mischievous ambition,—and too often both priest and lawyer have framed or made in part this instrument.”
Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon Writings
“Without publicity, no good is permanent; under the auspices of publicity, no evil can continue.”
Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham: Published Under the Superintendence of His Executor, John Bowring. Volume 1
“happy life and merciful death”
Jeremy Bentham
“What is the source of this premature anxiety to establish fundamental laws? It is the old conceit of being wiser than all posterity—wiser than those who will have had more experience,—the old desire of ruling over posterity—the old recipe for enabling the dead to chain down the living”
Jeremy Bentham
“if you hate much, punish much: if you hate little, punish little: punish as you hate. If you hate not at all, punish not at all:”
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation
“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, Principles of Morals and Legislation
“For the same sentiment of antipathy, if implicitly deferred to, may be, and very frequently is, productive of the very worst effects. Antipathy, therefore, can never be a right ground of action.”
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation
“aliment of philosophic pride: the hope of honour and reputation at the”
Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation
“If then, merely out of regard to population, it were right that paederasts should be burnt alive, monks ought to be roasted alive over a slow fire. (Offences Against One's Self,”
Jeremy Bentham
“He will repeat it boldly (for it has been said before him), truths that form the basis of political and moral science are not to be discovered but by investigations as severe as mathematical ones, and beyond all comparison more intricate and extensive.”
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation
“Those which can be experienced in the present life, can of course, be no others than such as human nature in the course of the present life is susceptible of: and from each of these sources may flow all the pleasures or pains of which, in the course of the present life, human nature is susceptible.”
Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarianism and Other Essays
“Ravaillac assassinated one of the best and wisest of sovereigns, at a time when a good and wise sovereign, a blessing at all times so valuable to a state, was particularly precious: and that to the inhabitants of a populous and extensive empire. He is taken, and doomed to the most excruciating tortures. His son, well persuaded of his being a sincere penitent, and that mankind, in case of his being at large, would have nothing more to fear from him, effectuates his escape.”
Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction To The Principles Of Morals And Legislation

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