The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is pleased to announce its sponsorship at Colgate University of a reading cluster devoted to the study of Thomas More’s Utopia. The cluster, which is open to the public, will hold the first of nine meetings on Monday, 8 p.m. – 9 p.m., September 17, in 103 Lawrence Hall at Colgate. Subsequent meetings will occur on September 24, October 1, 15, 22, 29, November 12, 26, and December 3. For additional information contact Dr. L’Arrivee (email@example.com), or AHI Executive Director Robert Paquette (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr. Elizabeth L’Arrivee, Lecturer at Colgate University and Visiting Fellow at AHI, will lead the discussion of the text. Dr. L’Arrivee received her Ph. D. from the University of Notre Dame and is broadly versed in the history of political philosophy. She completed her dissertation, “Converting the Soul from Politics to Philosophy: The Philosophic Way of Life in Plato’s Republic,” in 2015.
Participants will explore Thomas More’s humanism and his thinking about the perfect regime. Why should we think about something that literally means (as per its Greek origin), “no (ou) place (topos)”? Political philosophers were long governed by a question that superseded all other questions: “What is the best regime?” Should we not be more realistic and be satisfied with what can be proven to be effective? What are the dangers of expecting perfection from political life? What disasters can occur from the attempt to implement heaven-on-earth projects? Comparisons will be drawn between Plato’s great work on political idealism, The Republic, and Machiavelli’s startling turn away from imagined principalities in The Prince.
This reading cluster will be complemented by a study of The Prince during the spring semester (2019) at Colgate. The Norton third edition of More’s Utopia will be provided free of charge to participants.