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. They also are entitled to private property, where…

M: Private property? Ah, how amusing!

P: Is that so? I’m interested in your thoughts, More.

M: Well, I believe that the concept of private property is the source of class inequalities, thus creating injustice in society. It causes not only a sense of materialism but also the division of society into two classes: the rich and the poor. The rich develop a culture of buying and selling goods, or private property, that the poor laborers produce. Thus, the poor work for the benefit of the rich, causing inequality.

P: That is true. Seeing as how this system does not work, what shall you propose instead?

M: Private property should belong to the central government and be shared by all. This creates a society where all classes, while retaining individuality, combine their talents to produce property for the good of the entire State.

P: A truly just society…that is what you have just described. Where each man fulfills his/her role for the good of the State.

M: A truly just society is what democracy is NOT. In democracy, the poor work for the benefit of the few rich instead of the State as a whole. Justice can only be achieved by eliminating the freedom that paradoxically leads to inequality. Now tell me, Plato, what are your ideas of democracy?

P: I think that democracy, as defined by us earlier, is made unworthy of being called perfect by any means, as you have described it. However, I believe that the true downfall of democracy is the lack of proper leadership that exists because of it. If freedom is to thrive as the dominant quality of a democratic government, then there will be little chance of the people being willing to give in to a leader unless he/she stands for their direct interests. While a leader should definitely listen to his people, is he/ really acting in their interests by doing whatever they want him to do? I believe that because of this, an effective leader is unable of being chosen directly from the people; therefore, democracy at its core is unable of achieving true leadership.

M: Perhaps a form of indirect representation is needed? Where the people are represented by properly educated public officials, who nominate and elect the leaders based on the interests of the people? Anyways, it seems that according to both of us, pure democracy is unfit to be the government of a truly ideal State, even if it be due to different reasons.

P: At least at its core. There are many aspects of democracy that can be adapted to form an ideal government style. I see it as a step towards achieving a perfect society. Isn’t that something you’ve speculated upon, More, seeing as you invented the word “utopia”?

M: Oh come, now. Utopia, in its Greek context, means “a good place”; you of all people should know that. Furthermore, I wrote Utopia as a satire; merely a criticism against the governments of the time. Though many may argue otherwise, saying that it was intended as a “blueprint” for a perfect State or whatnot, I insist that criticism was my original intent. I believe a perfect society is impossible.

P: Even if a perfect society is possible, we can at least both agree that it does not take the form of pure democracy.

M: Indeed.

P: Well it has been enjoyable having a conversation with you, Sir More, but I must be getting back to my time. Until next time, my friend.

M: Farewell.

(Plato disappears from the room)

Discussion on Democracy

The Pessimist and the Optimist

(Plato has invited Sir Thomas More in his abode for an intellectual discussion)

Sir Thomas More(T)

T: Hello, and thank you for having me this evening.

P: Greetings to you too. The pleasure is all mine as I do enjoy having these discussions that contribute to our understanding of the world.

T: Even so, I mean, a person of your stature couldn’t possibly have the leisure to entertain a fellow like me.

P: Of my stature? Good man, in our form of study, we are all equals.

T: Speaking of equality: there were some aspects in your Republic that I thought I wanted to  clarify or rather, verify my understanding of it.

P: Ask away, my friend.

T: I am referring to the antidemocratic leadership that you had imposed in your ‘perfect State’. Would you not agree that people with their free minds will never stand for such subjugation? Would it not be better to work in co-operation rather than relying on one person’s ability to judge and govern? Born under the same sun, does everyone not have the right to have a say in matters which govern them? Furthermore, having a sole figure would attract rebellions, violate freedom hence, defy justice. Clearly, a violation of justice would mean a violation of people’s happiness that your ‘perfect state is supposed to provide. Equality to the extent that not even the leaders are exempt from any laws will provide a stage of independence. Whereas your ideas seem to suggest, if you would permit me inferring, a form of dictatorship.

P: Good man, I believe your words hold weight. However, they are optimistic and naive. People, from birth are driven by their selfish desires. Greed, lust, pride- time and time again civilizations have been crushed due to human nature. And you ask me to put faith in it?! You say, I flout justice? The justice you speak of is individualistic, a justice that accounts for societal happiness has to be achieved. I prefer lack of freedom by imposing rulers who are fit to rule, rather than the lack of any form of peace itself. An instance where the ignorant, unknowing people have elected a leader who is not capable must be avoided. If that is your definition of dictatorship, I confess guilty.

Now, I must question your democracy: assuming democracy is achieved, how do you attempt to prevent your leaders from falling into sins?

T: I believe that human nature is prone to lean towards malice. Therefore, I impose religion and practices of good faith from a very young in order to deter them from such malpractice. Furthermore, my utopia is segregated from the rest of society and cannot be influenced by it.

How do you suggest to find this ultimate leader who will have the skills to rule without falling for the sins himself?

P: I will select children out of society, teach them the subjects which will enhance their skills as leaders and finally choose the one who show the best results in their adult lives.


P: I believe, we have reached a stalemate. Since we are both prejudiced in some ways: you in your resentment of the Catholic church and the tyrannical English monarchy,

T: And you, in your lack in faith of the society that murdered your teacher, Socrates; we cannot reach a point of agreement.

P: Therefore, we must leave our works for the next generation of thinkers to comprehend its meanings and unveil right from wrong.

T: Fair enough. I hope our conversation has changed your pessimistic views on democracy to some extent.

P: Oh, if only…

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. Does it really look like democracy is working?


M: The democracy that Greece has is not a true democracy and is severely corrupted. A true democracy would never be run the way Greece is.


P: Thomas even if you create a democracy it will fail because over time it will become corrupted.


M: You really need to have more faith in the members of society. You make them seem so selfish and greedy. If a proper society is created individuals will want what is best for the overall community and not just what is best for them.


P: You are way too idealistic. Society needs rulers who have been trained their entire life. These individuals will be taken at a young age and learn what it takes to rule and how to rule a society. These individuals will be called philosopher kings and they surely will not have their minds corrupted by this idea of democracy.


M: That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard Plato you make people seem like they are sheep and need a shepherd to lead them. Your perception of man disgusts me. You must have more faith in people. People will work together so that they can have an overall better way of life. Democracy is a just form of government because not only is it “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system”( but it is the way to forming a utopia.


P: You must have lost your mind. This is truly the most bizarre thing I have heard. I don’t understand why you have such a difficult time understanding that democracy will never work. Democracy leads to chaos because it creates class separation in which the classes will eventually clash and the poor will revolt against the individuals in power. In addition, democracy makes society veer further and further away from a utopia.


M: If you were truly educated as you brag that you are, Plato, than you would know from reading my book Utopia that a society is most happy when the government is not involved and citizens feel that they aren’t being ruled. Your idea of the philosopher king is creating an elitist society where only the strongest and smartest can rule. These individuals cannot relate to the common man and will not know how to rule common people because these “philosopher kings” have an unrealistic perception of society and expect more from people than they really can do.


P: Thomas you have made a very good point. I want to sleep on this new concept that you have made me think about. Want to meet tomorrow for lunch to discuss further?


M: Most certainly.

Two Old Friends Are Reacquainted

Thomas More and Plato, two old friends, run into one another at a Starbucks one day.

Plato: Is that—It can’t be… Thomas More?! Long time no see! How long has it been? Five years?

More: Plato! Wow good so see you, how have you been?

P: Not so good actually.  My teacher, Socrates was unjustly executed for his teachings, or as they put it “corrupting of young minds.”

M: Yeah man I heard about that. I’m so sorry. Why don’t you sit down? I’d love to catch up.

P: Sure, I’d love to! So, what are your views on democracy?

M: Very good question. I was just thinking about democracy. I, for one, think a representative democracy, with elected public officials is the way to go.  I believe that whenever an issue arises, the elected official should consult with his electors on how to proceed.

P: Hahahah oh Thomas, you always were so naïve. Haven’t you considered the implications of democracy?

M: Such as?

P: For one, with democracy comes corrupt, wealthy politicians who can practically buy their way into office.  A perfect society would function best with leaders who are educated from birth and know what is best for their country. The idea that all men are created equal is absurd. Some men are smarter and more apt than others, and clearly those should be the ones with authority.

M: But what about the majority of society and what they think? The people are the only ones who can determine who is apt to rule them, because they are the ones being ruled.  Also, how can you be so sure that everyone will be willing to fulfill their duties and contribute to society when they are not given proper representation?

P: Because everyone will work in the role best suited for him.  There is no reason to be unhappy when everyone contributes to and therefore, lives in a just and equal society.  Besides, with a democracy there is a huge imbalanced gap between the rich and the poor.  The rich people will rule and will want private property.  In democracies, people only value individual liberties and honor.  Everyone will be greedy!  There is absolutely nothing good about democracy ever.

M: Listen, I know your friend Socrates was executed and all, but get over it. There are positives to democracy that you’re completely overlooking.

(Short pause where Plato is taken aback by More’s inconsiderate and hurtful comment)

M: I’m sorry. That was uncalled for.  I was just trying to say that I don’t think you should let one event cloud your opinion. My point is, rulers who are elected by the people are bound to do what is right for the people. Not to mention, a man of the people is likely to better understand the people.

P: Hm, I guess we will never agree on this matter, best just to let it go, enjoy our coffee, and perhaps discuss less litigious subjects.

M: Yes I suppose you’re right. So, tell me, what are your views on education?

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.

These actions- small and seemingly trivial- ultimately set the stage for the rest of the conversation. The two discuss democracy among many other subjects, but though each man has an opinion on such, their views prove to vary quite a bit.

“Democracy,” Plato starts, smoothing down the wrinkled fabric of his toga, “is simply not efficient.”

Thomas More raises an eyebrow. “Why do you say that, good sir?”

“The right to leadership should be earned. One should not become ruler because they are elected by the majority; doing so might leave room for inadequate men to govern simply because of their popularity.”

“Interesting. I see your point, but wouldn’t this cause unhappiness amongst the people?”

“Perhaps- but it entirely depends on how one chooses to view the situation. If this utopia were to be as successful and functional as possible, then surely the people living in it would be very pleased with such! Having the fortune of residing in such a successful, ideal society would promote happiness and a thus a very positive outlook on life.”

More considers this. Slowly, he lifts one leg and crosses it deliberately over the other, his brow furrowed in thought.  “If you don’t mind me asking, what would determine this?”

“Intelligence in the skills of arithmetic and dialect.”

“Intelligence?” Both eyebrows arched now, More eyes Plato skeptically. “That seems biased, does it not? In my utopia, there is equality for all who deserve it. We do not discriminate based on uncontrollable aspects of oneself; the only discrimination that occurs is the type that they bring upon themselves.”

There is silence, so More continues.

“If one commits a crime, they become a slave and spend the rest of their life serving the community. Everyone starts with a clean slate- no matter how intelligent they are- but what defines one is their actions.”

Almost instantly this elicits a laugh from Plato, who is seated at the other end of the room. Shaking his head in bemusement, he glances over at the disapproving More, before up at the large, glass window to his left. They have been talking for such an extended period of time that the sun has shifted, thus leaving Plato sitting in a tiny sliver of light, as opposed to the rest of the room that is filled with darkness. Still chortling softly over More’s words, Plato stands and drags his chair over to the other man, so that they are now both sitting in the shadows. Then, he speaks once more.

“You really believe that a utopia could be successfully ruled by someone who is not of the highest caliber?”

“Yes,” More says confidently, intent on proving his argument valid. “I do. Caliber is not necessarily defined by intelligence at all. By letting the people select their leader, the person who wins the election will not only be universally liked, but will know the community well enough to make necessary changes. An intelligent man might only be familiar with other intelligent men; but an average, well-rounded man will no doubt have a wider breadth of knowledge.”

Plato folds his hands and rests them on his chest, leaning back in his chair.

“I cannot say that I agree with you,” he starts slowly, “But I respect your opinion just the same. I apologize for my behavior earlier- looking back, it was somewhat out of place- but it puzzles me as to how two utopias can be so different.”

“Plato, do not worry. I completely understand, because this conversation is just as foreign to me as it is to you, dear friend. It was fascinating to hear what you had to say, even if it was and quite honestly, will continue to be a struggle for me to understand. What did you say the leaders of your society were called?”

“Philosopher kings. They are, to put it rather colloquially, the best of the best. It takes years upon years to perfect the skills to become such, which is certainly not an easy task.”

“Oh, I’m sure. Interesting, very interesting.”

“As is your policy of democracy. I had not viewed it in such a way prior to having this conversation with you, and though I am certainly not in favor of it, your reasoning has made me less averse to such.”

“Why thank you, I appreciate your open-mindedness. I have to get going now- it is getting rather dark in here and seeing is becoming a struggle- but I hope to speak with you soon. Shall we get together again one of these days?”

“Absolutely. Speaking to you was a pleasure.

“As it was with you. Goodbye, Sir Plato.”

“Goodbye, Sir More.”

Plato vs. More

Lehrer: Good evening, gentlemen. Your first topic tonight is Democracy. Plato, you go first.

Plato: Thank you, Jim. I am not and have never been a supporter of Democracy. Democracy is the result of the poor overthrowing the rich and killing or driving them out. Afterwards positions will be handed out to everyone and their cousin with no thought as to whom is fit for which job. There is complete freedom for the people. This freedom to say and do as they please will result in the population being extremely diverse, with no one filling his or her role. Soon the people get a taste for freedom and start living a life of excess. Finally the people will want even more freedom and overthrow their democratic government. The leader of the coup will be made a tyrant.

More: Plato, where is your faith in humanity? Do you not trust the citizens to be able to run their own state?

Plato: The only people fit to rule must have been trained for years in order to handle such power.

Lehrer: More, what do you think?

More: Well, in Utopia the cities are run by rulers that are elected by a group of politicians who are chosen by the people. The leaders require no training because I trust them to act in the people’s best interest.

Plato: That is why your system will never work.

More: I do not require the rulers to be trained because then it becomes a small number of educated people holding control over many, which is an oligarchy. I seem to recall you saying in Republic that an Oligarchy is bad because it results in the poor staging a revolution and forming a democracy.

Plato: That is why you must keep firm control on them.

More: If you do not allow the people their freedom then they will rise against you just as surely as if you give them too much.

Plato: That is why you must have a Philosopher- King to keep them in hand. If the people are not ruled completely they will overthrow the government.

More: That is where you are wrong. The people are More capable than you give them credit for.

Plato: We shall see whose government is overthrown first.

More: Indeed.

Dialogue on democracy between Plato and More on a friday night over a drink.

Robert Ekblom

Professor Qualls

Utopias/Dystopias Seminar


Dialogue on democracy between Plato and More on a friday night over a drink.


M(ore): What is your opinion on social freedom and individual role in society?

P(lato): I believe in three classes. There will be those who rule, the warriors, and the masses. The masses will work, and will not involve themselves with ruling or responsibilities of the society, and a select group will take on the responsibility of leading the society for the good of the whole.

M: I don’t agree with your position.

P: Please, elaborate.

M: Should the masses not have a voice? A chance to raise the issues they feel are important?

P: The rulers will address the important issues, for the good of the society, without the masses rising. If people have the power of voice, that is all they need to overthrow rulers.

M: Should an able leader not take into consideration what their subjects feel or think?

P: An able leader should not need to consolidate with their subjects. An able leader knows the needs of their subjects, and does not need them to repeat their concerns.

M: I disagree. No leader can know all the wishes or concerns of their subjects.

P: So what you suggest is that the people have the option of voicing their concerns and having a role in governing the society?

M: Precisely.

P: If they have this power, can they not attempt to overthrow those in power? Can they not decide they are never content with the decisions of the rulers? Does the power you suggest not permit uprising?

M: The rulers and those in power will make decisions for the good of everyone in the society. The difference between our proposed states is that the masses in mine are able to voice the concerns that the rulers might overlook.

P: I can understand your point of overlooking issues; however, I would be concerned giving the freedom and power nevertheless. It is the responsibility of the rulers to govern the state as they see fit. The decisions the rulers make should be the final verdict, for the good of the whole. Once you permit the masses to address their concerns, you permit the masses to govern. Hypothetically, an issue arises and the masses raise the issue to those with responsibility. Should the ruler not be able to rectify the issue, the masses would begin to question their leadership, and consequently, chaos will pursue.

M: Only prosperity would pursue by allowing the masses to speak. The masses would see no reason to rise against their leaders if they are part of constructing their society. With the people having the ability to work alongside their leaders, and help in building their ideal community, the people would not rise up, solely because they would themselves be to blame for any mistakes. However, clearly we do not, and will not, see eye to eye on this matter. We should agree to disagree.

P: Agreed. How’s the wife?

Gender and Sexuality under Differing Ideologies

Emily Smith

Revised Paper Proposal


In this paper, I want to examine the way that gender and sexuality are viewed under different forms of government. Gender and specifically women’s role in society has always been a controversial subject because different societies view women with varying degrees of equality. In the United States, women did not have full rights until the nineteenth amendment outlawed discrimination in suffrage based on gender. Yet women continue to have lower wages and have more difficulty obtaining jobs in certain fields than their male counterparts. When thinking about gender inequality and how women were only allowed full rights recently, a logical connection is the current debate on sexuality and how same sex couples continue to be discriminated against in much of the United States. The United States claims to be one of the most progressive societies in the world, and yet there are two major oppressed groups that are still working to gain equality in a country that claims to be the “land of the free”.

First I will examine one of the earliest works of literature to reference sexual relationships between two individuals of the same sex, Plato’s The Republic references the relationship between two males. I will examine Plato’s view on sexuality and gender, then the society which the philosopher lived in. How were the roles of women and sexuality viewed in classic Greek society? This question leads me to look to a government system essentially in opposition to the democratic republic of the United States, Soviet Socialist Russia. What are the similarities and differences in the ways gender and sexuality are treated in each society and form of government? How have these perspectives changed with time or have they changed at all? In my investigation I will attempt to expand upon these questions and why each society views gender and sexuality the way they do.

Originally my plan was to compare socialist and communist governments in general to the way democracy views gender and sexuality but when attempting to research I found that there was a lack of general information about each ideology and this made obtaining information much more difficult. In order to fix this problem I narrowed my research topic to three specific societies and ideologies. This has made research much easier and the information more related to the topic. I am in possession of Plato’s Republic, in which the philosopher strives to create an ideal state of justice and truth. In Bertel Ollman’s article, Social and Sexual Revolution, the NYU fellow discusses the changing views of sexuality in the social setting from the perspective of many different ideologies ranging from Marxist theories to radical liberalism. Another source which I will rely on is Disorders Of Desire Rev: Sexuality And Gender In Modern American Sexology, written by Janice Irvine, this work explores the evolution of sex in modern American culture. She investigates the psychological effects of these changes and the changing views of sex in the social setting. These resources and others such as: Socialism and Homosexuality, Gender and Society in Soviet Russia, and Greek Homosexuality will help me to investigate different perspectives on gender and sexuality during different time periods and under various government ideologies. There is enough information from these sources to support my investigation and comparison of these topics, with most of the sources available in full text online.

Works Cited

Ashwin, Sarah. “Gender and Society in Soviet Russia.” Well Placed Pottery. (accessed September 30, 2012).

Harrison, Thomas. “Socialism and Homosexuality  | New Politics.” New Politics. (accessed October 1, 2012).

Irvine, Janice . Disorders Of Desire Rev: Sexuality And Gender In Modern American Sexology. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2005.

Irvine explores the convoluted psychology of sexuality and gender in modern American culture. She uses social movements, government policy, debates and research to create a summation of American sexology in the late twentieth century.

Katz, Marilyn. “Ideology and `The status of women’ in ancient Greece..” History & Theory 31, no. 4 (1992): 70.

Kon, Igor S.. “The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality: Russia.” Der WWW2-Webserver — Website. (accessed September 30, 2012).

Loftus, Jeni. “America’s Liberalization in Attitudes Towards Homosexuality.” American Sociological Review 66, no. 5 (2001): 762-782.

Ollman, Bertel. “Social and Sexual Revolution.” The Writings of Bertel Ollman. (accessed October 1, 2012).

A more general view of the changes in perspectives in sexuality, Ollman discusses sexuality from varying perspectives and ideals. He provides useful background in different idealogies and time periods and how each viewed sexuality in a social setting.

Plato. The republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. *Primary Source*

The philosopher explores his ideal fantasy of the “perfect” state, in which all individuals are working most efficiently towards a common goal. One of the first works to ever mention the most basic ideas of communism and socialism, Plato explores the topics of family, property, government, and what it means to be truly just and whether or not this creates happiness.

van Dolen, Hein . “Greek homosexuality.” Livius. Articles on Ancient History. (accessed October 1, 2012).


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? Karl Marx argues in the Communist Manifesto that it is the unsatisfying human wants that will lead to innovation and make capitalism prosper but in the process it will also create class differences and essentially, a dystopia. However, even Marx’s theory would be proved wrong if wants were restrained. Is it possible for capitalism to exist without having class difference oppression? Or is instant social revolution always the answer? My paper’s objective will be to apply the religious practices in More’s Utopia and the education methodologies in Plato’s Republic to the technological utopian society in I, Robot. Combining each of these authors’ ideas may possibly unveil the ideal society they were striving to achieve. It may also mean that happiness for all may not mean sacrificing the happiness of the capitalists through communism, as Marx had suggested in the Manifesto.

The impending problem to any technological utopia is the volatile temperament of human nature, which is swayed by the slightest selfish nudge. Therefore, we must somehow control this desire or want in humans. In Plato’s The Republic and More’s Utopia, we come across many ways in which the authors propose to control this yearning. Compulsive religious affiliation as in More’s Utopia will allow people to strive for spiritual means rather than materialistic things. While looking for a way to find the religious enlightenment they will discard greed, lust, anger and pride. In More’s Utopia we see that happiness cannot be found from wealth, rather from the satisfaction that comes from helping others and devoting yourself towards religion and self-sacrifice. Fearing the repercussions of causing chaos in this world prevents violent or selfish thoughts. Could religious association serve as a restraint to the unlimited wants that humans naturally desire?
With that said, there also must be a way to enforce these ideas and provide a strong sense of discipline and faith within the people. Here, I would like to use Plato’s ideas of raising the philosopher king and guardians which he had identified in books 2,3,4 and 8. If selfish wants and the desire for better life are not encouraged in society will they ultimately become obsolete?
Robbin (1969) in his article “Utopia: Ideal or Illusion” illustrates that the concepts in Utopia were not as optimistic and impractical as suggested by critics, rather they were quite applicable in real life. Dominique (2009) in his article “The More Part: Upstaging the Law” agrees that More also did believe that good will and the right sense of justice could create a utopia.
On the contrary in Kessler’s, “Religious Setting for More’s Utopia“, he discusses that More’s work was strongly influenced by his resentment of the Catholic Church for their one religion propaganda and the English monarchy, which ran on the King’s personal motives rather than the good of the people. In the same way, Plato resented society because it killed his teacher, Socrates and led him to believe that democracy was flawed because the opinions of the majority were not always correct and therefore his Republic believes in an elitist society. These works were flawed because they were not completely unbiased and hence, could not achieve the ideal society that they were thriving for.

The work is quite original in that no one has so far compared Plato or More with the movie I, Robot, let alone integrated these ideas to form a Utopia. However, there are many that have analyzed the similarities between Plato’s and More’s works and how one influenced the other (Miles, Leland, “The Platonic Source of Utopia’s ‘Minimum Religion’“). Furthermore, a utopia without extreme insurgent ideas is relatively new as previous utopian writers have suggested that it would be impossible to model a new society while following the rules of the present one or without undergoing a revolution.
In regards to research materials, I already have the books, “The Republic”, “Utopia” and “The Communist Manifesto”. The film, I, Robot can either borrowed from the library or viewed online through any one of the popular video streaming websites. My secondary sources i.e. the articles and books are available through Dickinson College Library Database (EbscoHost) and their personal catalog.


Plato, . The Republic. New York: Dover Thrift, 2000.
Plato recounts the dialogues that Socrates had with other students and fellow citizens to answer the question, “What is Justice?” and the what makes a ‘perfect’ state. He uses metaphors and different allegories to try to understand the concept of justice in different contexts. Finally he comes to the conclusion that they could do all the thinking they wanted but maybe true justice is something unachievable by humans in their current state. This book also gives methodologies on raising leaders or effective members of society which I believe are essential to apply to the ideal society proposed in my paper.

More, Thomas. Utopia. New York: Dover Thrift, 1997.
More imagines a perfect world in a island separated from the rest of society. His world practices religious tolerance, excessive democracy and the people do not own property. His society prospers on optimistic belief in human nature and mostly positive fundamentals. More’s emphasis on religion and good practices are a vital element in controlling human wants which I intend to show with my paper.


Marx, Karl, and Freidrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Dover Thrift, 2003.

Proyas, Alex. “I, Robot.” Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Mediastream Vierte Film       GmbH & Co.             Vermarktungs KG, Davis Entertainment. Decem,14 2012. DVD
The film is about a technological utopia where robots are the ones doing all sorts of labor and making the lives of humans easier. Although the film’s main focus is around a homicide of one of the major scientists who developed robotics, it shows what a society where capitalism is successful can be like. It helped me see what a technological utopia could be like and hence is also an important setting for my paper.

Johnson, Robbin S. More’s Utopia: Ideal and Illusion. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1969.

Here the author explores some of the concrete and realistic(idyllic) features of More’s Utopia and the concepts to be learnt from it. People can learn about human nature and themselves from Utopia and can learn know how their evils can be controlled and also what human society should aspire to be like. Thomas More’s work should not be criticized for being too optimistic rather consulted for its realistic aspects that can be applied in real life. The author cites the opinions of articles that analyze the pragmatic concepts of Utopia.

Miles, Leland. “The Platonic Source of Utopia’s ‘Minimum Religion’.” Renaissance News  9,         vol.2 (1956): 83-90.

Goy-Blanquet, Dominique. “‘The More Part’: Upstaging the Law.” Law and Humanities 3., vol. 2
(2009): 151-74.

This article tries to answer if More believed in his ideas that good law and education can run a society well and did he believe some laws could be changed so that a perfect society can exist with flaws.
His behavior in life contradicted his ideas. However, since he died upholding his sense of justice he possibly could have believed some of them. More’s doubt in his ideas not only reflected in his ideas but also in his life decisions. The author draws on contradictions between More’s life choices and principles in Utopia by referring to accounts More’s Biography.

Sanford, Kessler. “Religious Freedom in Thomas More’s “Utopia”.” The Review of Politics 64, no. 2          (2002): 207-229.

The Justice of Dharma: A comparison between two seminal concepts of the West and the East

Final Paper Proposal

My final paper will compare the idea of justice as defined in Republic, written by Classical Greek philosopher Plato, to the Hindu concept of dharma. Justice is defined in Republic as balance in society on both the individual and State level, where the desires, emotions, and reasoning of each individual’s mind are balanced and each individual uses his/her natural talents to play his/her role in bettering society. Dharma, a concept originating in Vedic India, can be defined as achieving harmony within the individual and society. These two concepts both deal with justice on the individual and social level; given that they originated on the opposite sides of the world, the Eastern and Western spheres of humanity, why are these ideas so similar? I will attempt to answer this question and more by researching historical contexts, tracing theorized roots, and attempting to make connections between the two ideas as well as the cultures in which they originated.