Historical Who is Who
1748 - 1832
Prodiguous from childhood, the consistent drive of all his writing was the unmasking of blocks to the greatest human happiness for the greatest number of people. He is recognised as the ‘father’ of utilitarian thinking and his ‘dream schemes’ to transform the limitations and wretchedness of life in society were rigorously thought through and costed. Law should be based on rational moral principles – less on tradition or inherent nature. It should be extended to all aspects of society, including the development of a legal system which would promote peace between nations. Education should be available to all – girls as much as boys, with the curriculum determined by usefulness. Such a criterion lent itself to an ‘industrial’ logic of the kind exposed by Dicken’s Mr Gradgrind, but his non-inclusion of music was less a lack of interest in such and more a fear of potentially noisy distraction in limited space. Religion was better avoided in the public sphere for reasons of its tendency to exclusivity.