Freethought Almanac

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February 15: Jeremy Bentham (1748)

It was on this date, February 15, 1748, that British jurist and social reformer Jeremy Bentham was born into a Tory family in London, the son of a lawyer. A precocious learner, Bentham studied Latin at age four and sailed through Oxford, pausing only long enough to condemn the “mendacity and insincerity” of its religious atmosphere. He embarked on a legal career, but objected to its servitude to creeds, so he turned toward social reform: prison and legal reform and education reform: he founded University College, London, opening it to Non-Conformist, Catholic and Jewish students. Said Bentham, “There is no pestilence in a state like a zeal for religion, independent of morality.” One of the founders of the philosophy of Utilitarianism, and a mentor to John Stuart Mill, in private Bentham was candid about his Atheism…

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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer




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