Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 3

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 1

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 2

Social Utopias of Reformation Epoch – Part 3



Utopia was begun while More was an envoy in Flanders in May 1515. More started by writing the introduction and the description of the society which would become the second half of the work and on his return to England he wrote the “dialogue of counsel”, completing the work in 1516. In the same year, it was printed in Leuven under Erasmus’s editorship and after revisions by More it was printed in Basle in November 1518. It was not until 1551, sixteen years after More’s execution, that it was first published in England as an English translation by Ralph Robinson. Gilbert Burnet’s translation of 1684 is probably the most commonly cited version.

The work seems to have been popular, if misunderstood: the introduction of More’s Epigrams of 1518 mentions a man who did not regard More as a good writer.

The word Utopia overtook More’s short work and has been used ever since to describe this kind of imaginary society with many unusual ideas being contemplated. Although he may not have founded the genre of Utopian and dystopian fiction, More certainly popularized it and some of the early works which owe something to Utopia include The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella, Description of the Republic of Christianopolis by Johannes Valentinus Andreae, New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and Candide by Voltaire.

The politics of Utopia have been seen as influential to the ideas of Anabaptism and Communism. While utopian socialism was used to describe the first concepts of socialism later Marxist theorists tended to see the ideas as too simplistic and not grounded on realistic principles. The religious message in the work and its uncertain, possibly satiric, tone has also alienated some theorists from the work.

An applied example of More’s utopia can be seen in Vasco de Quiroga’s implemented society in Michoacán, Mexico, which was directly taken and adapted from More’s work.


Turning to the analysis of the ethical dimension of “Utopia”:

  • Important in utopic ethics – this is the problem of happiness. Utopians believed that happiness lies in the honest and noble pleasure and enjoyment.
  • In the basis is Greek philosophy, in particular writings of Plato and Aristotle.
  • The concept of “fun” ethic Utopians defines as “any movement and the state of body and soul, dwelling in which, under the guidance of nature, a person enjoys.”
  • Utopians believed his ethics the most reasonable, primarily because it is useful to society as a whole and for each member of society in isolation, since the principles of ethics, in their view, best meets the very essence of human nature, which manifests itself in the pursuit of happiness a person.
  • Common to religions Utopians was that they necessarily requires all citizens of the adherence to sound and useful for society moral standards, as well as the established political order, i.e. instead of that, morally, humanist, it was of universal value: philanthropy, a combination of personal interests with the public good, as well as avoiding religious strife.
  • More originality as a thinker of the Renaissance – that he is looking for the perfect way to ethics in a radical reconstruction of society on the principles of social justice, equality and fraternity.
  • All that is contrary to good majority, declared immoral.
  • Only state where private property is destroyed, we should recognize not only the best, but «only what can rightfully claim to be called the State»
  • The basic economic unit of Utopia is the family. On closer examination the same, however, is that the family of Utopians unusual and it is formed not only on the basis of kinship. The major symptom utopic family lies in its professional affiliation to a certain type of craft.
  • Family relationships are strictly patriarchal, headed farm is the oldest.
  • Utopia common ancestor worship.

In my opinion: Thus, according to Moore, Utopia is a classless society consisting of free from exploitation of the majority. However, designing a fair society, Moore was not consistent enough, assuming the existence of slaves in Utopia. Slaves on the island – disenfranchised populations, burdened with heavy labor service. They are “chained” in the chain and “always ” busy. The presence of slaves in Utopia to a large extent, apparently, was caused by low levels of modern production techniques Mor. Slaves Need Utopians to save citizens from most of the heavy and dirty work. This, of course, manifested a weakness utopian concept of Mor.