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Idea of Ideal Societies - Research Paper Example

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The essay investigates the idea of ideal societies. From the time of Plato, ancient thinkers believed that such a world order was possible if society was ruled by a wise, generous ruler. However, in practice, it often turned out that the pursuit of utopia required numerous blood sacrifices.
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Idea of Ideal Societies
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Download file to see previous pages  In the 17th century, the Enlightenment began. Motivated by trade, the printing press, and a number of very significant intellectual leaders, this period of history saw a lot of the superstitions that guided people’s lives beaten back. Thinkers like Diderot, Voltaire, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson revolutionized the way we think about the world and our place in it. Scientific innovation was also telling us more and more about our world, was exposing the fact that it was not run by ghosts and gods. Things began to change dramatically. People believed that a better world could be created through reason. The first utopians became famous.
The power of science was very important to the Enlightenment and to its idea that utopias were possible. Science was the process people used to explain the world to themselves and it was really coming into its own. People like Galileo had shown us that the moon was not a perfect sphere and that the patterns of the other planets were not quite as perfect as once thought. People began to think that the world was knowable not by divine revelation but through scientific reasoning and measurement. They took up their slide rules and went to their labs to try to explain things. This was a positive thing. But some people also began to applying strict science to things like politics or race—concepts that can easily be distorted by so-called “reason.” There is a very real argument that reason led directly to the horrors of Communism, for example. People went too far: they believed everything could be determined by reason and that reason could create a utopia.
This is a powerful argument. Indeed, the Communists thought a man was perfectible through reason. They thought they could socially engineer the world: take control of everyone’s choices and personal lives and decide what was right and what was wrong. Even today there are countries that promote and follow this principle. For example, China’s one-child policy is an excessive production of reason. The solution to a problem is to hand over all power to the government to fix it based on the latest scientific thinking.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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