PHL*394*10 Description


SpTp: Utopia


This course examines classic utopian proposals for an ideal society and some dystopian counterparts. Themes include: the aims of the state, forms of governance, human nature and final ends, religion in society, class, freedom and coercion, and the role of philosophy and the philosopher in society. The first part begins in the Classical Period with a close reading of Plato's Republic. A second examines the medieval synthesis of Church, state, and individual vocation in Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine. Thomas More's Utopia and selections from Niccolo Machiavelli show the rise of early modernity and the seeds modern political thought. A final section reflects on contemporary movements, in Alexis de Tocqueville's view of Democracy in America, C.S. Lewis's theological evaluation of the human condition in The Great Divorce, and George Orwell's appraisal of the modern information and surveillance society in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Strong writing background recommended. Student must have taken PHL*100 or have sophomore standing