Is Mores's "Utopia" a utopian Book?

Aleš Havlíček

The standard view considers Thomas More's Utopia a utopian writing, and no doubt, the second part of the book talks about the social system and life on the island of Utopia Island. However, at the end the author, Thomas More, dissociates himself from Rafael's utopian interpretation of society. We can find the same attitude in the first part of the book, where Thomas More sees the issue of private and joint property rather differently from the philosopher Rafael, who advocates equal rights and strips man of all those qualities that push one forward in the process of learning. Here, we can follow a clash of two philosophical concepts as we know them, e.g., from Plato's Politeia: whereas one is rooted in positing the limitless role of reason, the other one sees reason as a tool for harmonization of life in society. The present study argues that it is in the latter camp that we are to situate More's own views.