Ever wonder what might be the most absurd idea to come out of the Age of Reason? This paper in the history of philosophy supplies one possibility: Jeremy Bentham’s Auto-Icon. This study places Bentham’s decision to preserve his physical body in the context of his full body of philosophical and social work, itself contextualized within the revolutionary ideas and advances of the Enlightenment. The author touches on Bentham’s philosophy, his fondness for invention and science, as well as his vehement religious and political critiques. It is argued that the Auto-Icon embodies Bentham’s desire to promote universal happiness and to set a moral precedent. The Auto-Icon is actually a logical conclusion given Bentham’s views, no matter its absurd character.

Included in

Philosophy Commons


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.