Political theorists generally proceed by proposing ideal principles and utopian visions for society. Against this prevailing trend, this dissertation explores the possibility of political theory oriented around avoiding dystopia. Through an analysis of Thomas Hobbes, Edmund Burke, and Karl Popper–three Anglophone political theorists whose political theory shares an “aversional” quality–this dissertation asks, what in the moral, social, and political theory of these three thinkers explains and justifies their emphasis upon avoiding bad outcomes and human misery, rather than searching for ideals of justice and utopia? What philosophical and political beliefs, concepts, or strings of argument shared by these thinkers make their theories effectively focused upon avoiding bad outcomes? This dissertation sketches a dystopophobic family resemblance shared between the three. At the core of this resemblance is the identification of an asymmetry between goodness and badness, and a conceptualization of political matters operating at two levels: 1) at level of society and the structures and institutions that organize society to avoid dystopia; and, 2) the level of the individual within society whose life can go better or worse.
|Advisor:||Murphy, Andrew R.|
|Commitee:||Bathory, Dennis, Miller, Lisa, Haddock, Bruce|
|School:||Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, School of Graduate Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Political science, Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Burke, Dystopia, Dystopophobia, Hobbes, Injustice, Popper|
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