chapter  3
11 Pages

Bentham by John Watson

It may be safely said that no hedonistic system subsequent to Hume has added anything to the general doctrine, but has either introduced distinctions belonging to an earlier stage of its development or has ennobled it by the introduction of conceptions that are inconsistent with its fundamental principle. That all actions are determined by the desire for pleasure; that the pleasure which to the individual at the moment seems strongest determines the will; that reason has no power to originate, to retard, or to prevent action, but is a purely formal, or theoretical activity; that there is no 'innate faculty' or 'moral sense' belonging to man in his natural state, but that moral judgments are resolvable into a peculiar form of pleasure; that justice is a means of obtaining security for life and property, and so of securing the greatest pleasure of society as a whole; and that a man's motive in doing a benevolent or just act is ultimately a regard for his own pleasure; these are the main features of a hedonism that is as self-consistent as hedonism can be made, and they are all clearly set forth by Hume.