Early Socialist Thinkers: Owen, Saint-Simon, and Marx

1.) “The Legacy of Robert Owen to the Population of the World”

Author: Robert Owen. Welsh cotton manufacturer. Utopian socialist and a founder of the cooperative movement. Founder of (failed) New Harmony colony in the U.S. Had a vision of an ideal society.

Context: Great Britain, 1844. Industrial Revolution. Many of the Factory Acts were in place, including many that regulated child labor.

Language: Persuasive, confident, hopeful

Audience: The Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of Great Britain and Ireland

Intent: To persuade listeners to begin a bloodless revolution driven by morality and wisdom.… Read the rest here

Plato and More: A Discussion on Democracy

(Plato appears in Sir Thomas More’s chamber in Henry VIII’s castle)

More: So we meet again, Plato.

Plato: Greetings, Sir More.

M: So what shall the topic be for today’s cross-time continuum conversation?

P: I was thinking about discussing the topic of democracy today.

M: Why not. I’ll let you begin.

P: Let us first define the term democracy. Democracy is a state where freedom reigns supreme as the defining characteristic; the people may live life as they please, may take up any profession they please, and may speak without fear of unlawful censorship or persecution.… Read the rest here

Dialogue between Plato and More

Plato and More meet to discuss the idea of democracy as a form of government.

 

Plato: A democracy being a proper form of government – you cannot be serious Thomas.

 

More: Yes I am quite serious. It will allow for the country to prosper and for the citizens to elect officials and create a society full of happiness.

 

P: Democracy is a joke and does not work. Look at the state and Greece and Athens right now.… Read the rest here

Plato and More

Two men are seated in the middle of a room. One of them- draped in a thick, fur coat with a silk sash resting neatly on the shoulders- appears to be at ease. Sitting up straight in his chair, he glances over at the other man and offers a soft, almost cautious nod. There is a pause, as his balding, toga-clad companion mulls over the gesture. He seems undecided. Then, after a long silence he lifts his chin and returns the motion.… Read the rest here

Paper Proposal

Since Thomas More first coined the phrase “utopia” in his eponymous book, idealists, realists, and cynics alike have been fascinated with the possibility creating an ideal society. We have exhaustively explored the concept in fictional and critical contexts, with utopias at the focus of numerous works of literature, film, and scholarship. Various subcultural groups, such as the shakers and transcendentalists in the 19th century, attempted to create insular utopian communities. The evident human fascination with utopia raises numerous questions: can a utopian society be actualized?Read the rest here

The Success of Celebration, Florida (Paper Proposal)

Sam Bellissimo

Paper Proposal

In my research paper, I plan on discussing the town of Celebration, Florida, which was an intentional community proposed by Walt Disney himself. Intentional communities have been attempted a variety of different times over the past hundred years, but despite the good intentions they are created with, failure has proven to be much more prominent than success. Celebration was founded less than fifteen years ago, so unlike other communities where one can blatantly identify achievement (or more often, lack of,) it is still developing and thus has much room for improvement.… Read the rest here

Paper Proposal

 

Where Technology meets Religion

While reading and analyzing Plato’s The Republic and More’s Utopia through class discussion, it has been made quite clear that human nature poses a major problem in shaping ideal societies. No “perfect” society can truly be formed. Even in films like “Metropolis” and “Gattaca” it was greed, lust, anger and pride that led to failures of their technological worlds and made it a dystopia. However, would those worlds have succeeded if there was a way to limit human desires?… Read the rest here

Religion and Utopias

Religion and Utopias

 

In their works on utopian societies, Plato and More believe that religion is key to the function of a society. They suggest that religious beliefs affect the morality of a society’s members and thus the preservation of the society itself.  While Plato believes in “gods” and that society members should strive to attain the Form of the Good, a strict moral code, More believes that although many religious sects can exist in a society, society members should acknowledge one true deity.… Read the rest here

Comparison: Republic and Utopia

Sam Wittmer

One of the interesting characteristics of two fictional Utopian societies, Thomas More’s Utopia and Plato’s Republic, is that in these model societies there is a recognized inequality among the people.  In the setting we live in, one infatuated with the idea of equality, it may seem surprising to know that these philosophers believed that a perfect society would have people that were better than others.  The relationships of ruler to subject, in The Republic and Utopia, are based upon a group of the elite presiding, not forcefully, over another group that the society has been determined to be in a different position, with each party doing their duty for the gain of the State.… Read the rest here