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Panopticon Writings

ISBN-10: 1844676668
ISBN-13: 9781844676668
Edition: 2nd 2011
List price: $23.95 Buy it from $16.82
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Description: The Panopticon project for a model prison obsessed the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham for almost 20 years. In the end, the project came to nothing; the Panopticon was never built. But it is precisely this that makes the Panopticon project the  More...

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Book details

List price: $23.95
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 1/10/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 168
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.396
Language: English

The Panopticon project for a model prison obsessed the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham for almost 20 years. In the end, the project came to nothing; the Panopticon was never built. But it is precisely this that makes the Panopticon project the best exemplification of Bentham's own theory of fictions, according to which non-existent fictitious entities can have all too real effects. There is probably no building that has stirred more philosophical controversy than Bentham's Panopticon. The Panopticon is not merely, as Foucault thought, "a cruel, ingenious cage", in which subjects collaborate in their own subjection, but much more - constructing the Panopticon produces not only a prison, but also a god within it. The Panopticon is a machine which on assembly is already inhabited by a ghost. It is through the Panopticon and the closely related theory of fictions that Bentham has made his greatest impact on modern thought; above all, on the theory of power. The Panopticon writings are frequently cited, rarely read. This edition contains the complete "Panopticon Letters", together with selections from "Panopticon Postscript I" and "Fragment on Ontology", Bentham's fullest account of fictions. A comprehensive introduction by Miran Bozovic explores the place of Panopticon in contemporary theoretical debate.

Jeremy Bentham was born in London, on February 15, 1748, the son of an attorney. He was admitted to Queen's College, Oxford, at age 12 and graduated in 1763. He had his master's degree by 1766 and passed the bar exam in 1769. An English reformer and political philosopher, Bentham spent his life supporting countless social and political reform measures and trying as well to create a science of human behavior. He advocated a utopian welfare state and designed model cities, prisons, schools, and so on, to achieve that goal. He defined his goal as the objective study and measurement of passions and feelings, pleasures and pains, will and action. The principle of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number," set forth in his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, governed all of his schemes for the improvement of society, and the philosophy he devised, called utilitarianism, set a model for all subsequent reforms based on scientific principles. Bentham also spoke about complete equality between the sexes, law reform, separation of church and state, the abolition of slavery, and animal rights. Bentham died on June 6, 1832, at the age of 84 at his residence in Queen Square Place in Westminster, London. He had continued to write up to a month before his death, and had made careful preparations for the dissection of his body after death and its preservation as an auto-icon.

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