Philosophers are noted for their stylish prose as well as their profound insights. Or, to put that point in another, perhaps more felicitous, formulation, they are justly celebrated for their abilities in the words-putting-togetherness department.
But now, via Stuart Hayashi, here is a new entrant: a 164-word punisher from Jeremy Bentham:
“But partial as the effects of this remedy have been — partial as the effects of this, together with the other causes of debility in the form of government, have been in their character of a remedy against misgovernment, — to such a degree has the whole form of government, taken together, been repugnant to the only legitimate end of government, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, that notwithstanding the partial evils produced by, and proportioned to, the general weakness in the form of government, such is its nature, that by every fresh degree of weakness introduced into it, the interest of the greatest number is served in a greater degree than it is disserved; and supposing the weakness to end in utter dissolution, the utmost quantity of evil attendant on such dissolution would not be nearly equivalent to the quantity of good, which its certain consequence, a real constitution, having for its end in view the greatest happiness of the greatest number, would produce.”
That sentence alone makes a great contribution to our overall happiness.
Sources: Jeremy Bentham, “Jury Trial,” Chapter 23 of The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 2 . (Credit to Stuart Hayashi for finding and noting it.)
The Bentham image is of his auto-icon at the University of London, discussed here.
Tags: Jeremy Bentham