Interests, Universal and Particular: Bentham's Utilitarian Theory of Value

a1 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill gpostema@email.unc.edu

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The basic concept of Bentham's moral and political philosophy was public utility. He linked it directly with the concept of the universal interest, which comprises a distinctive partnership of the interests of all members of the community. The ultimate end of government and aim of all of morality is ‘the advancement of the universal interest’. This essay articulates the structure of Bentham's notion of universal interest and locates it in his theory of value.