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Utility and DemocracyThe Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham$
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Philip Schofield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208563.001.0001

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Real and Fictitious Entities

Real and Fictitious Entities

(p.1) 1 Real and Fictitious Entities
Utility and Democracy

Philip Schofield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Bentham’s theory of logic and language was at the root of his whole system of thought, underpinning his account of the principle of utility. The key distinction in language was between the names of real entities and the names of fictitious entities. The former represented physical objects, and the latter abstractions. For a proposition to make sense, all its terms had ultimately to be related to the physical world. Bentham developed the technique of paraphrasis, whereby phrases which contained the names of fictitious entities were translated into phrases which contained the names of real entities, to distinguish those propositions which did make sense from those which were nonsensical.

Keywords:   logic, language, utilitarianism, paraphrasis, entities, pleasure, pain

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