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Pols250 winter term notes secret slide part 3( Jeremy Bentham).docx

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Political Studies
POLS 250
Colin Farrelly

Pols250 winter term notes secret slide part 3 (Jeremy Bentham)  Secret slide 1 o Legal positivism  Legal positivism vs. natural law  Concerns relation between law and morals  “the existence of law is on reality; its merit and demerit is another”  “an Unjust law is no law at all” (Natural law tradition- St. Augustine) o If something is unjust then it doesn’t have the status of being a law)  Emphasizes the conventional nature of law  Benthams radical suggestion: distinguish between descriptive and critical jurisprudence.  Obligation is not grounded on social contract  It is grounded on utility  First secular ethic  Talk of natural rights is “nonsense on stilts”  Secret slide 2 o Bentham and utilitarianism  Radical critic of the legal system in England  Utilitarianism: the right action/policy is that which produces the “greatest happiness of the greatest number” (the third dominant moral prism)  What makes an action/policy right or wrong is its consequences  The consequences that matter for Bentham are pain and pleasure  A version of consequentialism  Secret slide 3 o Democracy  Democratic reform: requires by the greatest happiness principle  There is no other political system that will yield more pleasure and less pain (quite a radical proposal
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