Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 1999

Roger Paden
Pages 7-17

Political Arguments Against Utopianism

A number of different types of arguments have been advanced against the use of Utopian speculation in Political Philosophy. In this essay I examine what I call "political arguments against utopianism." I limit my discussion to those arguments made by liberals. These arguments hold that there is some essential incompatibility between liberalism and utopianism. I argue that this is not the case. After examining these arguments in detail, I attempt to define "utopianism." This leads me to argue that there is a type of utopianism, which I call "political utopianism," which escapes the political arguments advanced by liberals. I end by urging that liberals should spend more time developing Utopian conceptions of liberal society.