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Publication Detail
The 'Least Repulsive' work on a 'Repulsive Subject': Jeremy Bentham on William Blackstone's 'Commentaries on the Laws of England'
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Schofield P
  • Publisher:
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    23, 40
  • Chapter number:
  • Editors:
    Page A,Prest W
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Status:
  • Book title:
    Blackstone and his critics
  • Keywords:
    Jeremy Bentham, William Blackstone, Jurisprudence, Utilitarianism
Bentham’s engagement with Blackstone, in the words of J.H. Burns, constituted ‘a lifetime’s dialectic’. In his first major published work A Fragment on Government (1776), Bentham took seven pages of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England for his target, criticized Blackstone’s views on the social contract, the natural law, and sovereignty, and complained of his ‘antipathy to reformation’. In 1828 Bentham composed what appears to be his final riposte to Blackstone in a largely unknown work entitled ‘Blackstone familiarized’. This chapter investigates whether, and if so in what ways, Bentham’s attitude to Blackstone had changed in the intervening 60 years.
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