Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham invented the panopticon.


The Panopticon is a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the “sentiment of an invisible omniscience.”

A forerunner of Wolfgäng Schäuble, perhaps.

I remember seeing Jeremy Bentham in his glass case at UCL in the 1960s. Now Konstantin has published an entry and a picture. I had no idea that they’d wheeled him out to attend committee meetings twice.

Und nur zweimal seit 1850 wurden die sterblichen Ueberreste bewegt, zum 100sten und zum 150sten Jubilaeum des UCL. Bentham nahm selbstverstaendlich zu diesen Anlaessen an den College Committee meetings teil. In den Sitzungsprotokollen steht: “Jeremiah Bentham, present but not voting”.

2 thoughts on “Jeremy Bentham

  1. I believe the collapse in tourism has put a temporary stop to plans to convert Barcelona’s panoptic Modelo jail into a luxury, Big Brother-type hotel.

    While attending the UCL bar I acquired the vague idea that a post-idealist Bentham attended all meetings, his head held despairingly in his hands.

    • The UCL bar was well-decorated with stolen street signs, I seem to remember. King’s was more boring (and full of religious persons).

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