The Making of Egalitarian Utilitarianism

Revue D’Études Benthamiennes 23 (2023)
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This article examines the work of the nineteenth-century legal theorist, philosopher, and political radical, Joseph Rey (1799-1855). It explores Rey’s serious engagement with Benthamite utilitarianism, philosophical radicalism, and Owenism. It examines how Rey radically re-theorised the principle of utility by fundamentally re-thinking the individual and her creative potentialities, situating both within a radically egalitarian system of co-operation that was inspired both by Owenism and the radical egalitarianism of the democratic communism of the 1790s. Rey’s long-neglected fusion of utility and equality represented a thoroughgoing and novel transformation of utilitarianism that far surpassed in its originality J.S. Mill’s reworking of the doctrine.



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