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Bentham and the Common Law Tradition - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Bentham and the Common Law Tradition

Gerald Postema


This work explores the relationship between Bentham's utilitarian practical philosophy and his positivist jurisprudence. These theories appear to be in tension because his utilitarian commitment to the sovereignty of utility as a practical decision principle seems inconsistent with his positivist insistence on the sovereignty of the will of the lawmaker. Two themes emerge from the attempt in this work to reconcile these two core elements of Bentham's practical thought. First, Bentham's conception of law does not fit the conventional model of legal positivism. Bentham was not just a utilitarian ... More

Keywords: Bentham, positivist jurisprudence, legal positivism, utilitarian, constitutional framework, utilitarian practical philosophy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780198793052
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198793052.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gerald Postema, author
Professor of Philosophy and Law, University of North Carolina