Tag Archives: Jeremy Bentham

16 Philosophers-A Synopsis

The following list is written in no particular order. Consider it a discussion piece for your next coffee break.

Immanuel Kant ~ Focus: Achieving the “Kingdom of Ends” through individuality autonomy and morality. The “Kingdom of Ends” is achieved rationally and voluntarily. This process is inevitable and universal. The “K o E” makes a distinction between sin and crime, and is a republic based on a social contract. The “K o E” must be internationalized.

Jeremy Bentham ~ Focus: Forming a government which maximizes the greatest good of the number of people (UTILITARISM). Utilitarian government is formed rationally and voluntarily, and it is not coercive.

James Mill ~ Focus: Improving Bentham’s ideal government through separation of powers, and greater responsiveness to the people. Power should not be absorbed by any one entity. Calls for greater accountability of elected officials, and more involvement of middle class.

Karl Marx ~ Focus: Achieving the fulfillment of man by meeting his economic needs, which in turn meets all other needs of man. Society must remove the exploitation that the “have-nots” experience.

Friedrich Nietzche ~ Focus: The realization of the “Superman”, who made his own laws, and the abandonment of prevailing political structures, which, thanks to Christianity, protected the weak. Equality, democracy, and socialism should be banned, because it protects the weak. The survival principal is nevertheless supreme; Christianity, and the society it has formed will soon die, and the Superman will emerge. Nihilism and political introversion must be embraced until society falls.

Plato ~ Serving the state obtains the proper means of achieving justice both on a personal level and on the level of society.

Aristotle ~ Believing in what worked best in reality, not ideal circumstances, Aristotle asserts that an aristocracy would be the best regime.

Cicero ~ Believes Mixed government is best, taking from all three types – aristocracy, monarchy, polity (people-led), however, mostly aristocracy. And religion is just a tool of the state.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau ~ Says we need to achieve a civil society based upon the general will. There can be no separation of powers for general will to succeed. The government should have the power to enforce general will.

Niccoló Machiavelli ~ Rule by might to achieve positive results. The state must control the church. (precursor of “Superman” ideal)

Francis Bacon ~ Use of science to achieve the ideal society (as in Utopia). This will create peace at home. However, war abroad also is advocated because it furthers science. Religion is a function of the utopian state.

Thomas Hobbes ~ Use of science to achieve the best commonwealth. Believes that need for survival vs. needs of evil passions is what needs to be determined. The answer is to create a social contract by willful consent of the people, or by force if necessary. Church is controlled by state.

René Descartes ~ One can achieve the “good life” by being generous through controlling their passions. Society should be set up so nations can communicate scientific information for the advancement of all – no matter what form of government it might take. Had a distaste for the church.

Baruch Spinoza ~ The sovereign determines what is in the general interest of society, making the sovereign the absolute. However, democracy must be permitted to allow for diversity. He never explains how the sovereign and democracy are reconciled to each other. Religion is a tool of the state.

David Hume ~ People have the right to overthrow an evil government. He argues against pure monarchies, argues for free government which is mixed. (Much like England today!!) Church and State must be fused together.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ~ All members of the community are linked together through the state. This is called “Universality”. (Sounds something like socialism or communism.) The State is the source of art, religion, and philosophy. Yet, society must come to a point where it recognizes the freedom of each individual… only to draw them closer to the state.