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Human Nature For Bentham morals and legislation can be described scientifically but such a description requires an account of human nature Just as nature is explained through reference to the laws of physics so human behaviour can be explained by reference to the two primary motives of pleasure and pain this is the theory of psychological hedonism There is Bentham admits no direct proof of such an analysis of human motivation--though he holds that it is clear that in acting all people implicitly refer to it At the beginning of the Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation Bentham writes that nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters pain and pleasure It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do as well as to determine what we shall do On the one hand the standard of right and wrong on the other the chain of causes and effects are fastened to their throne They govern us in all we do in all we say in all we think every effort we can make to throw off our subjection will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it From this we see that for Bentham pleasure and pain serve not only as explanations for action but also define ones good It is in short on the basis of pleasures and pains which can exist only in individuals that Bentham thought one could construct a calculus of value Related to this fundamental hedonism is a view of the individual as exhibiting a natural rational self-interest-- a psychological egoism In his Remarks on Benthams Philosophy 1833 Mill cites Benthams The Book of Fallacies London Hunt 1824 pp 392-3 that in every human breast self-regarding interest is predominant over social interest each persons own individual interest over the interests of all other persons taken together Fundamental to the nature and activity of individuals then is their own well-being and reason--as
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