The debts I have incurred in writing this book are enormous, and will never be
paid. They go back to kitchen talk with Florian Bail, and to my time at Reed
College and Queen’s University, where teachers and fellow students pushed me
to keep learning. I was first given the freedom to explore many of the book’s
themes at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Richard Flath-
man, the very best advisor and interlocutor one could hope to have. Kirstie
McClure prodded me to improve my historical and theoretical skills—as well as
my writing—while William Connolly, J.G.A. Pocock, and Ali Khan provided
additional guidance. Other early helpers included Lanfranco Blanchetti, James
Crimmins, Kaveh Ehsani, Charles Euchner, John Maltese, Rina Palumbo, and
Meg Russett, as well as John Guillory, David Harvey, and the late Sharon
Stephens. Arguments were later tested at conferences in the United States and
Canada, and in seminars and workshops at the University of Illinois at Chicago
and the University of Chicago. Chapter 4 appeared in Utilitas 13:4 (November
2001). I am grateful to Yoshio Nagai and his colleagues from the Japanese
Society for Utilitarian Studies for their invitation to present a draft of chapter 5;
ideas for chapter 7 were developed at the invitation of the International Society
for Utilitarian Studies Bentham Seminar at University College London. Philip
Schofield and the sta√ of the Bentham Project at UCL are wonderful hosts. I am
indebted to conversations with them, and to responses from numerous discus-
sants and audiences. The book itself could not have been written without the
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