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14:00 - 15:00 19 October 2013

Why is Jeremy Bentham's corpse on display in UCL?


South Cloisters | Wilkins Building (link Map)
Gower St | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: FREE
Ticketing: Open

Why is Jeremy Bentham’s corpse sitting in a box in the South Cloisters of UCL’s main building? Was it because he provided the financial backing for the foundation of UCL? Or because he was an eminent professor in the Department of Laws? Does he attend UCL Council meetings, recorded as ‘present, but not voting?’ Did he invent underpants (as claimed by Horrible Histories)? Does his ghost trundle around the College at night?

Professor Schofield will attempt to unravel fact from fiction, and explain why Bentham’s last will and testament instructed an auto-icon to be created from his remains. In life, his objective was to promote well-being: to maximise happiness and minimise suffering. He argued for legislators to guarantee subsistence and security, furthering equality and creating conditions to encourage individuals to pursue wealth creation. Above all, Bentham stands for applying radical thinking to better the human condition. Does this vision help us to understand the auto-icon?


Lizzy Baddeley
+44 (0)20 3108 1198 | e.baddeley@ucl.ac.uk


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