Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn

Bsc (Econ), MSc (Econ), PhD, PG DipSW (DipSW)

Senior Research Associate

020 31088396


Dr Michael Quinn is currently editing Bentham’s Writings on Political Economy for the Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham.

Dr Quinn is interested in Bentham’s application of the principle of utility to the design, implementation and evaluation of public policy, that is, in his contribution to the theory of liberal governance, or what Foucault calls ‘governmentality’. Dr Quinn’s previous research has concerned both the fundamentals of Bentham’s theory (his ontology, his view of the methods and limits of moral calculation, and of the relation between the subordinate ends of legislation—security, subsistence, abundance and equality—and the principle of utility), and the application of that theory in specific areas (poor laws, panopticon, political economy, indirect legislation).

Dr Quinn contributes to the teaching of the LLM module ‘Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition’, and teaches Bentham’s ‘Not Paul, but Jesus Vol. III: Doctrine’, as a Big-book option for ‘Jurisprudence’ on the LLB.


Dr Quinn has edited three volumes of Bentham’s Collected Works, co-edited a fourth, and is currently editing four more.

Collected works volumes

Writings on Political Economy Volume I: including Defence of Usury, Manual of Political Economy, and A Protest Against Law Taxes, ed. M. Quinn, Oxford, 2016.

Of Sexual Irregularities, and other writings on Sexual Morality, ed. P. Schofield, C. Pease-Wakkin and M. Quinn, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2014.

Writings on the Poor Laws: II (CW), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2010.

Writings on the Poor Laws: I (CW), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2001.

Recent Articles

‘Jeremy Bentham, Choice-Architect: Law, Indirect Legislation and the Context of Choice’, forthcoming in History of European Ideas 43 (2017).

‘Jeremy Bentham, “The Psychology of Economic Man”, and Behavioural Economics’, Œconomia 6-1 (2016), 3–32.

‘Popular Prejudices, Real Pains: What is the Legislator To Do When the People Err in Assigning Mischief?’, in Bentham’s Theory of Law and Public Opinion, ed. X. Zhai and M. Quinn, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 63–89.

‘Bentham on Mensuration: Calculation and Moral Reasoning’, Utilitas 26 (2014), 61–104.

‘Which comes first, Bentham’s chicken of utility or his egg of truth?’, Journal of Bentham Studies 14 (2012).