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Utopia, continued

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Summary

“Their Moral Philosophy”

All Utopians are educated, since through education an individual’s values and attitudes take shape. Utopians devote much of their free time to learning, and they are advanced in the sciences. They avoid pointless abstractions in philosophy and focus instead on the meaning of life and the nature of happiness, themes that relate to their belief in the afterlife. They distinguish between true pleasure, which arises from care of the mind and body, and false pleasure in status and appearance.

“Their Delight in Learning”

Hythloday describes how eager the Utopians were to learn Greek and how happy they were to read the works of Greek grammarians, historians, and philosophers that Hythloday left behind after a journey. The Utopians are fast learners and are always ready to learn skills to make life more agreeable, such as printing and paper making.

“Slaves”

Utopians do not execute criminals but rather condemn them to slavery, and they offer asylum to criminals sentenced to death in other countries. The slave class consists not only of domestic and foreign criminals but also of foreign soldiers captured in battle.

“Care of the Sick and Dying”

Utopians properly care for the sick, and priests encourage euthanasia for the terminally ill. Those who refuse euthanasia are still well cared for. Suicide is condemned, however, and the bodies of people who kill themselves without priests’ approval are disposed of carelessly.

“Marriage Customs”

Utopians view marriage as a sacred institution. Premarital intercourse is prohibited and severely punished, but the bride and the groom view each other naked before the wedding day to avoid unwanted surprises. The Utopians permit divorce in cases of abuse or adultery, and they sentence the adulterer to slavery.

“Punishments”

Utopia has no lawyers. Politicians are respected but not venerated, and since there is no money or property, bribery is unknown.

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