Attempting to create an image of the ideal society is a very challenging task. Both authors painstakingly reason their way through a description of the perfect city using what is called the dialectic method. The dialectic method is the process of arriving at a truth through the exchange of logical argument. In Republic, Plato writes the entire book from the prospective of his teacher Socrates. Socrates starts off by having an argument about justice with a man named Thryasmachus that leads a much broader conversation about justice and its role in society with another man named Glaucon. Socrates with Glaucon then tries, through the dialectic method, to determine what exactly a truly just city would be like.
The scenario in Bellamy's Looking Backward is that the main character Julian West falls is put in to a sleeplike trance in the year 1887 and does not awake until over a century later in the year 2000 to find himself in a entirely new world. The Boston of his time has been replaced by futuristic wonderland of peace, equality and happiness. Mr. West and the man in who's home he awakes, Dr. Leete then spend the rest of the book discussing this new society, its goals and institutions. Since the book itself is entirely a fictional account the plot is nothing more than a dressed up version of the dialectic method packaged as an odd utopian/romance novel.
In each of the books, the authors tend to point back to one root factor that is the fountainhead of all unjust and imperfect... [continues]
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