Dr. Minami Murata and Prof. Michihiro Kaino

Logo Centre Bentham

Dr. Minami Murata
(Doshisha University)

will speak on the theme "J. S. Mill and Political Reform: The Reception of Jeremy Bentham and George Grote".

The purpose of my talk is to reconsider John Stuart Mill’s ideas of political reform from 1831 to 1850’s by examining his reception of Jeremy Bentham and George Grote. In order to shed light on this historical context, firstly, I will investigate how he received and criticized political thought of Bentham in 1830’s. After his challenges to Benthamite political theory, the serial studies of Ancient Greece written by Grote stimulated Mill to present his considerations on representative democracy from 1840’s to 1850’s. This is the second part of my argument and it shows what Bentham taught Mill were deepened by Grote’s writings. Last but not least, although both of his British contemporaries were surly key thinkers to Mill’s ideas of political reform, I will slightly illustrate that Mill also learnt a lot from French writers such as Alexis de Tocqueville and François Guizot.

Prof. Michihiro Kaino (Doshisha University)

will speak on the theme "Bentham’s Theory of Legal Transplants and His Influence in Japan"

Bentham tried to be ‘the legislator of the world'. Bentham argued that, as human beings are sufficiently similar, his Pannomion (complete codes of laws), based on the ‘abstract utility’ induced by empirical generalizations about human psychology, could be introduced universally. And he developed a theory of legal transplants in his article ‘Place and Time’ (written around 1780). Bentham was well aware that the natives would refuse his Pannomion due to their prejudicial biases or sensibilities. Thus, he tried to bring the actual utility experienced by the natives in line with the abstract utility through ‘indirect legislations’ such as freedom of the press and public discussion.

Bentham might have been too optimistic to think that if people were fully informed, they would free themselves of prejudice and adopt his Pannomion, which was, according to him, based on their ‘true’ interests. However, along with the codes proposed by a French legal scholar, Gustave Boissonade (1825-1910), Bentham’s theory of codification was given serious consideration in late nineteenth-century Japan. In the end, Bentham’s Pannomion was not adopted in Japan or anywhere else in the world. However, Bentham’s theory of codification provides a reasonable explanation for the development or the modernization of Japanese law from the late nineteenth century to the present.

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Event details
Vendredi, 15 Mars, 2019 - 14:00 - 18:00
Sciences Po – 13 rue de l’Université – Paris 7ème - Salle 410T (4e étage)
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