Bentham, Utilitarianism, and the Classical Theory of Criminology
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This paper discusses the criminology theories of Jeremy Bentham. It begins by providing a biographical background of Bentham and explains how his love for law and criminology pushed him to develop new theories. It discusses why these theories were controversial at the time and looks at some critiques of the theories.
From the Paper:"Bentham's contribution to the classical theory came in the form of an idea he advanced called utilitarianism (Siegel, 2000). The theory of utilitarianism is based around the idea that lawmaking should be done with the goal of providing the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (Siegel, 2000). Bentham believed that empirical calculations could be derived to judge what laws would provide the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. As for the criminal application of this theory, he believed that individuals weigh the probabilities of present and future pleasures against those of present and future pain. This balancing of outcomes served as the deciding factor of whether or not an individual would commit an illegal act. Accordingly, Bentham believed that if the proposed pain was in excess of the pleasure derived from the crime, then no crime would result. This is utilitarianism in its simplest sense. In order to understand in a deeper sense (one that explains contexts, applications, and criticisms) one has to look deeper into Bentham's ideas on legal duties, obligations, and powers, and how these contributed to utilitarianism, and finally, how utilitarianism contributed to the classical theory as we understand it today."
Cite this Essay:
Bentham, Utilitarianism, and the Classical Theory of Criminology (2004, February 27) Retrieved May 18, 2013, from http://www.academon.com/essay/bentham-utilitarianism-and-the-classical-theory-of-criminology-49158/
"Bentham, Utilitarianism, and the Classical Theory of Criminology" 27 February 2004. Web. 18 May. 2013. <http://www.academon.com/essay/bentham-utilitarianism-and-the-classical-theory-of-criminology-49158/>