Happiness, Democracy, and the Cooperative Movement

The Radical Utilitarianism of William Thompson

Mark J. Kaswan
eISBN-13: 9781438452050

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Happiness is political. The way we think about happiness affects what we do, how we relate to other people and the world around us, our moral principles, and even our ideas about how society should be organized. Utilitarianism, a political theory based on hedonistic and individualistic ideas of happiness, has been dominated for more than two-hundred years by its founder, Jeremy Bentham. In Happiness, Democracy, and the Cooperative Movement, Mark J. Kaswan examines the work of William Thompson, a friend of Bentham's who nonetheless offers a very different utilitarian philosophy and political theory based on a different conception of happiness, but whose work has been largely overlooked. Kaswan reveals the importance of our ideas about happiness for our understanding of the basic principles and nature of democracy, its role in society and its character as a social institution. In what is the closest examination of Thompson's political theory to date, Kaswan moves from philosophy to theory to practice, starting with conceptions of happiness before moving to theories of utility, then to democratic theory, and finally to practice in the first detailed account of how Thompson's ideas laid the foundations for the cooperative movement, which is now the world's largest democratic social movement.

ISBNs 9781438452043, 1438452055, 9781438452050
Language English