Although known as the founder of modern utilitarianism and the source of analytical jurisprudence, Bentham today is infrequently read but often caricatured. The present book, based on a study of Bentham's most important works, offers a reinterpretation of Bentham's main philosophical doctrines, his principle of utility and his analysis of law. The evidence indicates that Bentham was no `universalist' in morals, but embraced a dual standard - in politics the
community's interest, in `private ethics' the agent's interest - which may in turn be based on the idea that government should serve the interests of those who are `governed'. The argument challenges many
common assumptions about Bentham's view of human nature and of political institutions. A new reading is also given to his theory of law, which suggests Bentham's insight, originality, and continued interest for philosophers and legal theorists. In the Interest of the Governed was first published in 1973. This revised edition contains a new Preface, a revised Bibliography, and two new Indexes, one of Names and one of Subjects, which together replace the original index.
'The received interpretation of Bentham's utilitarianism is challenged and a reinterpretation is presented and defended with lucidity and force...This reinterpretation will be essential reading for any serious student of Bentham's philosophy.' Law Quarterly Review
`The book is clearly written, scrupulously documented; it confronts possible objections and acknowledges its own weak points in a way that makes it excellent reading even for those unfamiliar with the philosophical literature on Bentham ... Lyons does well to phrase his arguments with modesty and care, for this book is a startling corrective of many of the common assumptions about Bentham's thought.' Political Theory
'His comments are fair and judicious ... the original argument is striking for its rigour and seriousness, and Lyons's book has encouraged a number of scholars to examine more carefully the philosophical arguments surrounding the principle of utility and the theory of law. In this sense, the reprint of the original book is a welcome addition to current attempts to re-interpret Bentham's ideas in numerous fields.'
F. Rosen, University College of London, Utilitas