RESCUING POLITICS FROM LYING AND HYPOCRISY: UTILITY AND TRUTH IN JEREMY BENTHAM’S THOUGHT

  • Benjamin Bourcier Associate-Professor of moral and political philosophy, ESPOL, Catholic University of Lille

Abstract

As a utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) devoted most
of his career to create a new institutional setting to promote the greatest happiness
of the greatest number on the basis of the principle of utility. In doing so, Bentham
committed himself not only to the value of utility but also to truth. Truth meant
universal interest and denouncing all abuses of power and corruptions that
sacrifice the interest of the greatest number. As two opponents of truth, lies and
hypocrisy are the symptoms of the sacrifice of the universal interest and directly
oppose the principle of utility. Yet, what is at stake in this opposition? How did
Bentham value and analyze these two phenomenon? In this paper, I will explain
how Bentham’s commitment against lying and hypocrisy in politics aims to
support the truth of the utilitarian principle and demonstrates the wrongness of
other moral principles.

Published
2019-05-03
Section
LYING AND HYPOCRISY IN POLITICS AND MORALITY, WITH RUTH GRANT