Help me find this quote about living in possible worlds/utopias
April 28, 2018 4:30 AM   Subscribe

I read a quote recently, and cannot find it again. It was in an article or interview about better worlds, about the possibility of utopia. And the person writing/being interviewed quoted another thinker's doctrine, something like: "A possible world is only worth considering if it is better regardless of who you are in that world."

i.e. imagine that you don't know who you would be born as in a possible world, and build your utopia from there.
posted by 0bvious to Religion & Philosophy (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Rawls' Veil of Ignorance?
posted by Bardolph at 4:43 AM on April 28, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: This sounds like John Rawls's original position. Society should be structured as if by people who did not know what their role in it would be, including wealth, gender, ethnicity, etc. On preview: yes!
posted by drdanger at 4:44 AM on April 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Interesting coincidence. I first heard of Rawls' Veil of Ignorance a couple days ago while listening to the audio book Algorithms to Live By by Christian/Griffiths. They also cite the maxim "The optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true." by James Branch Cabell, which I had also never heard of until listening to that audio book. I thought this may also be relevant to your mention of utopia.
posted by forthright at 8:30 AM on April 28, 2018

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