A Perfect World For Imperfect People?

Overview

This dissertation examines views of human nature in utopian and dystopian fiction and demonstrates the relationship between their ontological and their political positions. It posits that utopian writers fall into two main categories. The first group consists of the essentialists who believe that human beings have some intrinsic characteristics which cannot be eliminated and therefore, to create the perfect political system, it is necessary to have strict laws which restrain human behavior. The second group ...
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More About This Book

Overview

This dissertation examines views of human nature in utopian and dystopian fiction and demonstrates the relationship between their ontological and their political positions. It posits that utopian writers fall into two main categories. The first group consists of the essentialists who believe that human beings have some intrinsic characteristics which cannot be eliminated and therefore, to create the perfect political system, it is necessary to have strict laws which restrain human behavior. The second group consists of the non-essentialists who believe that human beings lack intrinsic characteristics. Human nature is a product of socio-political and economic institutions and education. Therefore, utopia can be established through proper institutional reorganization and educational arrangements. Dystopian writers take issue with both these positions. They posit that both these utopian positions are presumptuous because they claim to know human nature. Rather, they claim that human nature is unknowable and unpredictable. Human beings have some intrinsic characteristics and desires but they are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. The only characteristic which is constant in all human beings is their desire for freedom. For dystopian writers, the desire for liberty is neither the sole, nor even the primary, human desire. Its importance lies in the fact that it is the unquenchable human desire. Though it can be suppressed in the short-term, the desire for it can never be eliminated. Concomitantly, dystopian writers argue that it is not rationality but the capacity for choice which characterizes human beings. Since recalcitrance and the desire for freedom is the hallmark of humanity, any political system which restricts freedom and choice will inevitably lead to tragedy. Unlike utopias, dystopian writers contend that no political system can harmonize all values and desires. As such, politics requires choices and therefore, freedom to make these choices. This dissertation, therefore, lays out three different ontological positions and demonstrates the political imperatives which each one of them carries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243729231
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/8/2011
  • Pages: 154
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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