I first met Jeremy Bentham as a newly arrived philosophy student walking through the South Cloisters of University College London. Behind the plate glass of a huge mahogany case, I looked in upon a seated life-size wax figure of a man in an 18th Century coat and knee britches, happily wearing a straw hat. Only it was not Bentham’s wax figure; it was his embalmed corpse – his “auto-icon.” Apparently, Bentham’s will left his executor no choice but to have his body stuffed and placed on public display. There he has been ever since.
Bentham famously believed that publicity was the key to truth.
Read more about Bentham and his views on privacy on VoxPopuLII.
Photo credit: Annzstream, Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License