Label usually applied in a hostile sense to those who advocate – or are wildly optimistic in thinking they can achieve – a state of affairs perfect in some or all respects.
One charge is that the excessive and unrealistic pursuit of some good can lead to gross neglect of other goods and even of elementary justice. The term derives from an essay written in 1516 by English statesman and humanist SIR THOMAS MORE (1478-1535), who constructed it from the Greek for, roughly, ‘no place’ (or, if he had in mind another etymology, ‘good place’).
Utopias are frequent in literature, the earliest serious one being Plato’s Republic (c.380 BC).
Recently Utopias have tended to be replaced by ‘dystopias’ (on the analogy of ‘dyspepsia’, ‘dyslexic’ and so on), such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1931) and George Orwell’s 1984 (1948).
Also see: negarive utilitarianism
Krishnan Kumar, Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Modern Times (Oxford, 1987)
A utopia (/juːˈtoʊpiə/ yoo-TOH-pee-ə) is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. The term was coined by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the south Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South America. The opposite of a utopia is a dystopia, which dominates the fictional literature.
A utopia focuses on equality in such categories as economics, government and justice, with the method and structure of proposed implementation varying based on ideology. Lyman Tower Sargent argues that the nature of a utopia is inherently contradictory because societies are not homogeneous and have desires which conflict and therefore cannot simultaneously be satisfied. According to Sargent:
There are socialist, capitalist, monarchical, democratic, anarchist, ecological, feminist, patriarchal, egalitarian, hierarchical, racist, left-wing, right-wing, reformist, free love, nuclear family, extended family, gay, lesbian and many more utopias [ Naturism, Nude Christians, …] Utopianism, some argue, is essential for the improvement of the human condition. But if used wrongly, it becomes dangerous. Utopia has an inherent contradictory nature here