New Philosophy and New Law for a Troubled World

Philip Allott

There is a vacuum of philosophy to make sense of a world dominated by a disorderly global economy, by science and engineering, by ideologies, and by popular culture. There is a vacuum of law to bring order to relations between states that are more threatening than they have ever been. Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) re-thought everything in another difficult new world. Philip Allott’s Eutopia (2016) reclaims the best of human thought to empower us in making a better human world.

Chapter 10: New Law. Human Flourishing through Self-ordering

Philip Allott

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, law and society, legal philosophy, public international law


Law is the anatomy and physiology of a society. Human beings are its breath. Consider the universe – from its outer limits, if any, down to the human brain that uses its own order to give order to the universe. Filling the universe, and haunting the brain, are the potential disorder that their order negates, and the permanent effort required to make them orderly. And, between the universe and the brain, the potential disorder of human existence, and the permanent effort necessary to make it orderly. The self-ordering of the human being. The self-ordering of human society. And everywhere law, as a means of resolving an ultimate contradiction of the universe and of the human condition, a contradiction between order and disorder. Law is a human invention. It is something made in the human mind, and imposed on the natural world and on the human world. It is an active presence in all four of the existential realms of the human condition – supernatural, natural, social and personal. We have given ultimate ordering power to the idea of law in all four existential realms. It is so familiar to us and so near to us that we do not notice its universality, even if we meet its practical effects everywhere and at every moment. Everything is ruled by the idea of law. By means of the idea of law we human beings have taken power over everything, not least power over ourselves.

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