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.
Here’s your Week in Freethought History: This is more than just a calendar of events or mini-biographies – it’s a reminder that, no matter how isolated and alone we may feel at times, we as freethinkers are neither unique nor alone in the world. Last Monday, September 10, but in 1941, “One of the most […]