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Bentham and the Rule of Belief

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Abstract:

According to the traditional enlightened account of modern secular institutions from Hume to Freud and in much contemporary political theory, those instituions are notable primarily for having eliminated the influence of religious beliefs, which can now be considered as harmful (or at best useless) illusions. But the work of Jeremy Bentham provides another trajectory for thinking about the history and structure of modern tolerant governments. In his thinking, government could be tolerant not because it simply rejected the power of religious beliefs but because it sought to organize their adherents in new ways. From his "Panopticon" to "Chrestomathia," the virtue of cooperative communal structures was that they permitted persons to retain their beliefs but participate with each other in new interactions; institutions of employment, instruction, and so on, would function as the means through which individuals with diverse beliefs would attain unprecedented recognition and visibility.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

bentham (69), institut (48), belief (29), toler (24), individu (23), tabl (19), differ (19), would (16), freud (16), work (15), way (15), might (14), account (14), write (14), religi (13), social (13), polit (12), school (12), one (12), new (12), liber (12),

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Keywords: Bentham, Religion, Toleration, Secularization, Freud
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Name: American Political Science Association
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MLA Citation:

Canuel, Mark. "Bentham and the Rule of Belief" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64927_index.html>

APA Citation:

Canuel, M. , 2002-08-28 "Bentham and the Rule of Belief" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p64927_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: According to the traditional enlightened account of modern secular institutions from Hume to Freud and in much contemporary political theory, those instituions are notable primarily for having eliminated the influence of religious beliefs, which can now be considered as harmful (or at best useless) illusions. But the work of Jeremy Bentham provides another trajectory for thinking about the history and structure of modern tolerant governments. In his thinking, government could be tolerant not because it simply rejected the power of religious beliefs but because it sought to organize their adherents in new ways. From his "Panopticon" to "Chrestomathia," the virtue of cooperative communal structures was that they permitted persons to retain their beliefs but participate with each other in new interactions; institutions of employment, instruction, and so on, would function as the means through which individuals with diverse beliefs would attain unprecedented recognition and visibility.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 17
Word count: 5658
Text sample:
1 Mark Canuel Department of English (M/C 162) University of Illinois at Chicago 601 South Morgan Street Chicago IL 60607 Bentham and the Rule of Belief 1 Towards the end of his essay The Future of an Illusion (1927) Sigmund Freud anticipated the future with a note of optimism. Perhaps he mused civilization would someday throw off its ``religious illusion'' and grow from children into adults who could embark upon an ``education to reality.'' Assimilating his own work in
of politics that was the "coin of necessity." See C. K. Ogden ed. Bentham's Theory of Fictions (New York: Harcourt Brace 1932) 1718. 18.On Bentham's view of the proper role for the church see Bentham's papers on "Qualifications: Present Abstract Utility " Bentham Manuscripts 6:40. 19.William Hazlitt The Spirit of the Age or Contemporary Portraits (New York: Chelsea House 1983) 8. 20.John Stuart Mill Mill on Bentham and Coleridge ed. F.R. Leavis (1950; Westport CT: Greenwood Press 1983) 43


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