Intended for healthcare professionals

Editor's Choice

Bentham's head

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7530.0-f (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:0-f
  1. Fiona Godlee (fgodlee@bmj.com), editor

    Not far from the BMJ, near the entrance hall of University College London, sits Jeremy Bentham, the great 18th century educator and benefactor–and the father of utilitarianism. His body was preserved on his own instruction as an “auto-icon” but his head, damaged in the preservation process and for a long time stored under his chair, is now locked away safe from student pranks. The head on his body is made of wax. Why do I mention all this? Because this week's journal echoes Bentham's philosophy–that our aim should be to acheive the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It's a philosophy that seems hard …

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