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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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Bentham and Beccaria

Bentham and Beccaria

(p.40) II Bentham and Beccaria
Essays on Bentham

H. L. A. Hart

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to assess Bentham's debt to a European thinker, Beccaria, whom Bentham admired as the first to distinguish clearly between the functions of Expositor and Censor. It provides evidence of how great a break Bentham made with his predecessors' habit of thought in insisting as he does on an exhaustive study and mastery of the concrete detail that lies hidden behind unanalysed general terms and concepts used in many fields of study. It is true that the conception of an ‘exhaustive analytic method’ classifying the phenomena to be studied by a ‘dichotomous’ or ‘bipartite’ division of generic terms, which Bentham favoured, and as he knew, was known to D'Alembert and other eighteenth-century thinkers, could be traced through Porphyry to Aristotle.

Keywords:   Beccaria, Bentham, Expositor, Censor, terms and concepts, D'Alembert, political thinkers

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