Foundations of the Legislative Panopticon: Bentham’s Principles of Morals and Legislation
Published as Chapter 4 in Foundational Texts in Modern Criminal Law, Markus Dubber, ed.
Bentham contributed to the development not only of moral philosophy, jurisprudence, and policy analysis, but also criminal law. This chapter interprets his concepts of law and policy as explicated in his best known work, as foundations for his views on criminal law. These foundational concepts explain his view that criminal law should be expressed in a code consisting of offenses defined by reference to legally protected interests and culpable expectations of injury to those interests. In making this argument, the chapter explores Bentham’s analogy of legislation to architecture and of the utility principle to the foundation of a building.