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Chapter 3 - The Great Divide

Bentham and Paley

from Part I - The Emergence of the Rule-Consequentialist Paradox

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2021

Alex Tuckness
Affiliation:
Iowa State University
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Summary

Chapter 3 examines the decisive break between religious and secular utilitarianism in the thought of William Paley and Jeremy Bentham. Paley, the better known and more widely respected thinker of the two at the time, is in many ways the paradigm case of the theological version of morality as legislation. Paley, like Locke, used human legislative deliberation as a paradigm of rationality for thinking about the content of the divine law. Bentham’s project must be understood in part as motivated by a desire to reject the theological assumptions of theories like Paley’s that stood in the way of radical reform. It also encouraged a reframing of moral expression as a kind of legislative act. Bentham saw reputational sanctions as one substitute for religious motives for moral action, but this also required a perspectival shift towards a legislative approach when making moral statements.

Type
Chapter
Information
Morality as Legislation
Rules and Consequences
, pp. 83 - 100
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • The Great Divide
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.004
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  • The Great Divide
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.004
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The Great Divide
  • Alex Tuckness, Iowa State University
  • Book: Morality as Legislation
  • Online publication: 29 July 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009052542.004
Available formats
×