Part One of Seven

Utopia for One: Futurity and Community in the Age of the Individual.

Presented by Heather Bloor, PhD Candidate.

Due to the current circumstances related to the coronavirus, we have decided to take the precaution of postponing Part One of our 2020 Pub Philosophy series which was scheduled for this evening, 16 March. At this stage, we are looking to potentially go ahead with Part One in one month’s time. However, we will of course be playing the situation by ear. Stay tuned and stay healthy, we are very much looking forward to the series and look forward to joining our friends at Clancy’s for a night of ideas, discussion and drinks as we ask what it means to be human in our contemporary world.


“With this first lecture we’ll be returning to the same issue we closed last year’s series with – the idea of utopia. This will open up our discussion and raise questions regarding our understanding of identity and difference amidst increasingly atomised and fractured communities, and ask to what or who do we belong, if anything?

In 1947, Karl Popper argued that utopianism was nothing more than a “quarrel about ends”, and that “the Utopianist must win over, or else crush, his Utopianist competitors who do not share his own Utopian aims and … as far as possible stamp out all memory of them”. In this lecture I will outline how the term utopia has been adopted in both critical theory and popular usage over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Attacks on the idea of utopia such as Popper’s are typical of the shift in the twentieth century from thinking of the utopia as the ideal ‘no-place’ to associating it with a blueprint to which we must mould society. Such attacks tend to only consider utopia as the individual vision competing in, might we say, a ‘marketplace of ideas’, and reduce our social situation to an opposition between liberalism, in which isolated individuals look after their own interests, and totalitarianism, in which isolated individuals are subjected to the interests of one individual or group. But can the idea of utopia challenge this reduction of community to the aggregate of isolated individuals? In this lecture I will argue that by emphasising the elements of futurity and community essential to utopian thinking, we can save utopia from its reduction to a blueprint for society, and recover it as a tool with which to reflect on our world, and imagine a future which is not merely a perpetuation of the present.”

Free to attend, though booking is essential. Tickets will be made available for booking on our website and Facebook page at around 5pm on 2 March 2020.