Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER III.: PROCRASTINATOR'S ARGUMENT ( ad socordiam. ) - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 2
CHAPTER III.: PROCRASTINATOR’S ARGUMENT ( ad socordiam. ) - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 2 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- Principles of Judicial Procedure, With the Outlines of a Procedure Code.
- Note By the Editor.
- Chapter I.: General View—ends of Judicature.
- Chapter II.: Ends Apt and Unapt.
- Chapter III.: Procedure—its Relation to the Rest of the Law.
- Chapter IV.: Judiciary Establishment.
- Chapter V.: Procedure—its Subject-matters.
- Chapter VI.: All-comprehensive Arrangements.
- Chapter VII.: Practical General Rules.
- Chapter VIII.: Judicial Application.
- Chapter IX.: Proxies.
- Chapter X.: Judicial Communication.
- Chapter XI.: Evidence.
- Chapter XII.: Initiatory Hearing.
- Chapter XIII.: Defence, How Elicited.
- Chapter XIV.: Suits, Their Sorts.
- Chapter XV.: Suits, Continuance Of.
- Chapter XVI.: Suits—termination.
- Chapter XVII.: Suits, Their Stages.
- Chapter XVIII.: Means of Execution.
- Chapter XIX.: Counter-security.
- Chapter XX.: Remedies,—compensation.
- Chapter XXI.: Judicial Transfer.
- Chapter XXII.: Prehension.
- Chapter XXIII.: Jury-trial.
- Chapter XXIV.: Special Juries.
- Chapter XXV.: Grand Juries.
- Chapter XXVI.: Quasi-jury.
- Chapter XXVII.: Recapitulatory Examination, Or Quasi-trial.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Appeal and Quasi-appeal.
- Chapter XXIX.: Natural and Technical Systems Compared.
- Appendix A.: Initial Sketch of the Procedure Code.
- Appendix B.: Account-taking Judicatories.
- Appendix C.: British India—jury System.
- From the Right Honourable Sir Alexander Johnston, to the Right Honourable Charles W. Williams Wynn, President of the Board of Controul.
- The Rationale of Reward.
- Advertisement By the Editor.
- Remarks By Mr. Bentham.
- Preliminary Observations.
- Book I.—: Of Rewards In General.
- Chapter I.: Definitions.
- Chapter II.: Matter of Reward—sources.
- Chapter III.: Of Reward and Punishment Combined.
- Chapter IV.: Of the Union of Interest With Duty, and of Self-executing Laws.
- Chapter V.: Matter of Reward—reasons For Husbanding.
- Chapter VI.: Remuneration Ex Post Facto.
- Chapter VII.: Punition and Remuneration—their Relations.
- Chapter VIII.: Remuneration—where Hurtful.
- Chapter IX.: Remuneration—where Needless.
- Chapter X.: Proportion As to Rewards.
- Chapter XI.: Choice As to Rewards.
- Chapter XII.: Procedure As to Rewards.
- Chapter XIII.: Rewards to Informers.
- Chapter XIV.: Rewards to Accomplices.
- Chapter XV.: Competition As to Rewards.
- Chapter XVI.: Rewards For Virtue.
- Chapter XVII.: Accompaniments to Remuneration.
- Book II.—: Rewards Applied to Offices.
- Chapter I.: Salary—how a Reward.
- Chapter II.: Rules As to Emoluments.
- Chapter III.: Fees and Perquisites—none.
- Chapter IV.: Minimize Emolument.
- Chapter V.: No More Nominal Than Real.
- Chapter VI.: Couple Burthen With Benefit.
- Chapter VII.: By Emoluments Exclude Corruption.
- Chapter VIII.: Give Pensions of Retreat.
- Chapter IX.: Of the Sale of Offices.
- Chapter X.: Of Qualifications.
- Chapter XI.: Of Trust and Contract Management.
- Chapter XII.: Of Reforms.
- Book III.—: Reward Applied to Art and Science.
- Chapter I.: Art and Science—divisions.
- Chapter II.: Art and Science—advancement.
- Chapter III.: Art and Science—diffusion.
- Leading Principles of a Constitutional Code, For Any State.
- Section I.: Ends Aimed At.
- Section II.: Principal Means Employed For the Attainment of the Above Ends.
- Liberty of the Press, and Public Discussion.
- Jeremy Bentham to the Spanish People.
- Letter I.: On the Liberty of the Press—the Approaching Eight Months’ Sleep of the Cortes—and the Exclusion of Experience From the Succeeding Cortes.
- Letter II.: On the Liberty of Public Discussion In Free Meetings.
- Letter III.: On the Liberty of Public Discussion In Free Meetings—continuation From Letter II.
- Letter IV.: On the Liberty of Public Discussion In Free Meetings—continuation of the Subject From Letter III.
- An Essay On Political Tactics, Or Inquiries Concerning the Discipline and Mode of Proceeding Proper to Be Observed In Political Assemblies: Principally Applied to the Practice of the British Parliament, and to the Constitution and Situation of the Nati
- Chapter I.: General Considerations.
- Chapter II.: Of Publicity.
- Chapter III.: Of the Place of Meeting and Its Dependencies.
- Chapter IV.: Of What Concerns the Members Present At a Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter V.: Of the Presidents and Vice-presidents Belonging to Political Assemblies.
- Chapter VI. *: of the Mode of Proceeding In a Political Assembly In the Formation of Its Decisions.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Proposal of Measures For Adoption.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Different Acts Which Enter Into the Formation of a Decree.
- Chapter IX.: Of the Promulgation of Motions—of Bills—of Amendments, and Their Withdrawment.
- Chapter X.: Of the Drawing Up of Laws.
- Chapter XI.: Of Debates.
- Chapter XII.: Of Amendments.
- Chapter XIII.: Of Dilatory Motions, Or Motions of Adjournment.
- Chapter XIV.: Of Voting.
- Chapter XV.: Of Committees.
- Chapter XVI.: Of Formulas.
- The Book of Fallacies: From Unfinished Papers of Jeremy Bentham. Edited By a Friend.
- Preface By the Editor of the Original Edition.
- The Book of Fallacies.: Introduction.
- Section I.: A Fallacy, What.
- Section II.: Fallacies, By Whom Treated of Heretofore.
- Section III.: Relation of Fallacies to Vulgar Errors.
- Section IV.: Political Fallacies the Subject of This Work.
- Section V.: Division Or Classification of Fallacies
- Section VI.: Nomenclature of Political Fallacies.
- Section VII.: Contrast Between the Present Work and Hamilton’s “parliamentary Logic.”
- Part I.: Fallacies of Authority, the Subject of Which Is Authority In Various Shapes, and the Object to Repress All Exercise of the Reasoning Faculty.
- Chapter I.
- Chapter II.: The Wisdom of Our Ancestors; Or Chinese Argument—( Ad Verecundiam. )
- Chapter III.: Fallacy of Irrevocable Laws.
- Chapter IV.: No-precedent Argument—( Ad Verecundiam. )
- Chapter V.
- Chapter VI.: Laudatory Personalities— (ad Amicitiam.)
- Part II.: Fallacies of Danger, the Subject-matter of Which Is Danger In Various Shapes, and the Object to Repress Discussion Altogether, By Exciting Alarm.
- Chapter I.: Vituperative Personalities— (ad Odium.)
- Chapter II.
- Chapter III.: Fallacy of Distrust, Or, What’s At the Bottom?—( Ad Metum. )
- Chapter IV.: Official Malefactor’s Screen—( Ad Metum. )
- Chapter V.: Accusation-scarer’s Device—( Ad Metum. )
- Part III.: Fallacies of Delay, the Subject-matter of Which Is Delay In Various Shapes—and the Object, to Postpone Discussion, With a View of Eluding It.
- Chapter I.: The Quietist, Or “no Complaint”—( Ad Quietem )
- Chapter II.: Fallacy of False Consolation— (ad Quietem.)
- Chapter III.: Procrastinator’s Argument ( Ad Socordiam. )
- Chapter IV.: Snail’s-pace Argument.—( Ad Socordiam. )
- Chapter V.: Fallacy of Artful Diversion—( Ad Verecundiam. )
- Part IV.: Fallacies of Confusion, the Object of Which Is, to Perplex, When Discussion Can No Longer Be Avoided.
- Chapter I.: Question-begging Appellatives—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter II.: Impostor Terms—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter III.: Vague Generalities—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter IV.: Allegorical Idols—( Ad Imaginationem. )
- Chapter V.: Sweeping Classifications—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter VI.: Sham Distinctions—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter VII.: Popular Corruption—( Ad Superbiam. )
- Chapter VIII.: Observations On the Seven Preceding Fallacies.
- Chapter IX.: Anti-rational Fallacies—( Ad Verecundiam. )
- Chapter X.: Paradoxical Assertion—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter XI. :non-causa Pro Causa: Or, Cause and Obstacle Confounded—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter XII.: Partiality-preacher’s Argument—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter XIII.: The End Justifies the Means—( Ad Judicium. )
- Chapter XIV.: Opposer-general’s Justification:—not Measures But Men; Or, Not Men But Measures—( Ad Invidiam. )
- Chapter XV.: Rejection Instead of Amendment—( Ad Judicium. )
- Part V
- Chapter I.: Characters Common to All These Fallacies.
- Chapter II.: Of the Mischief Producible By Fallacies.
- Chapter III.: Causes of the Utterance of These Fallacies.
- Chapter IV.: Second Cause—interest Begotten-prejudice.
- Chapter V.: Third Cause—authority-begotten Prejudice.
- Chapter VI.: Fourth Cause—self-defence Against Counter-fallacies.
- Chapter VII.: Use of These Fallacies to the Utterers and Acceptors of Them.
- Chapter VIII.: Particular Demand For Fallacies Under the English Constitution.
- Chapter IX.: The Demand For Political Fallacies:—how Created By the State of Interests.
- Chapter X.: Different Parts Which May Be Borne In Relation to Fallacies.
- Chapter XI.: Uses of the Preceding Exposure.
- Anarchical Fallacies; Being an Examination of the Declarations of Rights Issued During the French Revolution.
- An Examination of the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen Decreed By the Constituent Assembly In France.
- A Critical Examination of the Declaration of Rights.
- Declaration of the Rights and Duties of the Man and the Citizen, Anno 1795.
- Observations On Parts of the Declaration of Rights, As Proposed By Citizen Sieyes.
- Principles of International Law.
- Essay I.: Objects of International Law.
- Essay II.: Of Subjects, Or of the Personal Extent of the Dominion of the Laws.
- Essay III.: Of War, Considered In Respect of Its Causes and Consequences.
- Essay IV.: A Plan For an Universal and Perpetual Peace.
- Appendix. * —junctiana Proposal.
- A Protest Against Law-taxes, Showing the Peculiar Mischievousness of All Such Impositions As Add to the Expense of Appeal to Justice.
- Supply Without Burden; Or Escheat Vice Taxation: Being a Proposal For a Saving of Taxes By an Extension of the Law of Escheat, Including Strictures On the Taxes On Collateral Succession Comprised In the Budget of 7 Th December 1795.
- Section I.: General Idea.
- Section II.: Order of the Details.
- Section III.: Advantages.
- Section IV.: Originality.
- Section V.: Produce.
- Section VI.: Application.
- Section VII.: Heads of Objection, With Answers. †
- Section VIII.: Existing Law.
- Section IX.: Ancient Law.
- Section X.: Blackstone.
- Tax With Monopoly; Or Hints of Certain Cases In Which, In Alleviation of the Burden of Taxation, Exclusive Privileges May Be Given As Against Future Competitors, Without Producing Any of the Ill Effects, Which In Most Cases Are Inseparable From Everyth
- I.: Stock-brokers.
- II.: Bankers.
PROCRASTINATOR’S ARGUMENT (ad socordiam.)
“Wait a little, this is not the time.”
Exposition.—To the instrument of deception here brought to view, the expressions that may be given are various to an indefinite degree; but in its nature and conception nothing can be more simple.
To this head belongs every form of words by which, speaking of a proposed measure of relief, an intimation is given, that the time, whatever it be, at which the proposal is made, is too early for the purpose; and given without any proof being offered of the truth of such intimation,—such as, for instance, the want of requisite information, or the convenience of some preparatory measure.
Exposure.—This is the sort of argument or observation which we so often see employed by those who, being in wish and endeavour hostile to a measure, are afraid or ashamed of being seen to be so. They pretend, perhaps, to approve of the measure—they only differ as to the proper time of bringing it forward; but it may be matter of question whether, in any one instance, this observation has been applied to a measure by a man whose wish it was not, that it should remain excluded for ever.
It is in legislation the same sort of quirk, which in judicial procedure is called a plea in abatement. It has the same object, being never employed but on the side of a dishonest defendant, whose hope it is to obtain ultimate impunity and triumph by overwhelming his injured adversary with despair, impoverishment, and lassitude.
A serious refutation would be ill bestowed upon so frivolous a pretence. The objection exists in the will, not in the judgment, of the objector. “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath day?” was the question put by Jesus to the official hypocrites. Which is the properest day to do good?—which is the properest day to remove a nuisance? Answer: The very first day that a man can be found to propose the removal of it; and whosoever opposes the removal of it on that day, will, if he dare, oppose the removal on every other.
The doubts and fears of the parliamentary procrastinator are the conscientious scruples of his prototype the Pharisece; and neither the answer nor the example of Jesus has succeeded in removing these scruples. To him, whatsoever is too soon to-day, be assured that to-morrow, if not too soon, it will be too late.
True it is, that, the measure being a measure of reform or improvement, an observation to this effect may be brought forward by a friend to the measure: and in this case, it is not an instrument of deception, but an expedient of unhappily necessary prudence.
Whatsoever it may be some centuries hence, hitherto the fault of the people has been, not groundless clamour against imaginary grievances, but insensibility to real ones,—insensibility, not to the effect—the evil itself, for that, if it were possible, far from being a fault, would be a happiness,—but to the cause—to the system or course of misrule which is the cause of it.
What, therefore, may but too easily be—what hitherto ever has been—the fact, and that throughout a vast proportion of the field of legislation, is, that in regard to the grievances complained of, the time for bringing forward a measure of effectual relief is not yet come. Why? Because, though groaning under the effect, the people, by the artifice and hypocrisy of their oppressors having been prevented from entertaining any tolerably adequate conception of the cause, would at that time regard either with indifference or with suspicion the healing hand that should come forward with the only true and effectual remedy. Thus it is, for example, with that Pandora’s box of grievances and misery, the contents of which are composed of the evils opposite to the ends of justice.