Chapter

Bentham and Beccaria

H. L. A. Hart

in Essays on Bentham

Published in print November 1982 | ISBN: 9780198254683
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681509 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.003.0003
Bentham and Beccaria

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This chapter attempts to assess Bentham's debt to a European thinker, Beccaria, whom Bentham admired as the first to distinguish clearly between the functions of Expositor and Censor. It provides evidence of how great a break Bentham made with his predecessors' habit of thought in insisting as he does on an exhaustive study and mastery of the concrete detail that lies hidden behind unanalysed general terms and concepts used in many fields of study. It is true that the conception of an ‘exhaustive analytic method’ classifying the phenomena to be studied by a ‘dichotomous’ or ‘bipartite’ division of generic terms, which Bentham favoured, and as he knew, was known to D'Alembert and other eighteenth-century thinkers, could be traced through Porphyry to Aristotle.

Keywords: Beccaria; Bentham; Expositor; Censor; terms and concepts; D'Alembert; political thinkers

Chapter.  4993 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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