Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Alexander Orakhelashvili
Chapter 7: ‘The Holiness of the Heart’s Affection’: Philip Allott’s Theory of Social Idealism
7 ‘The holiness of the heart’s affection’:1 Philip Allott’s theory of Social Idealism Iain Scobbie 7.1 SETTING THE SCENE Philip Allott has summarised the aim of his theory of Social Idealism in a pithy aphorism: To change fundamentally the social organisation of the world by changing fundamentally the ideas that support the social organisation of the world.2 The key features of Allott’s Social Idealism are: a belief in the capacity of the human mind to transcend itself in thought, to take power over the human future, to choose the human future, to make the human future conform to our ideals, to our best ideas of what we are and what we might be.3 As he has repeatedly stated, he seeks ‘a revolution in the mind, not in the streets’. This is a recurring slogan in his writings. These comprise his monograph Eunomia,4 numerous 1 From John Keats’s letter to Benjamin Bailey dated 22 November 1817: this phrase formed part of the epigraph to Tom Franck’s presentation at the celebratory meeting marking Philip Allott’s retirement from the University of Cambridge in May 2004, see Franck TM, The fervent imagination and the school of hard knocks, 16 European Journal of International Law 343 (2005). The papers presented at this meeting, and an edited transcript of the proceedings, have been published as Philip Allott’s ‘Eunomia’ and ‘The health of nations’, Thinking another world: ‘This cannot be how the world was meant to be’, 16 European Journal of International Law 255 (2005)...
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