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Thomas More and Humanism

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Thomas More and Humanism: summary

In this lesson from a TEACHER we offer you a brief summary of the philosophy of Thomas More, a benchmark of the Humanism, a movement that anticipates the Renaissance and that contributed to the series of social, economic, legal and political changes that took place in the Europe of the century XVI. These transformations lay the foundations for the birth of a new society.

On the other hand, it takes place at the time, the Scientific and technological revolution, with Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, which represents a huge change in mentality. Nothing will be seen in the same way anymore. Now, the human being it is placed at the center of the universe, thus substituting for God. The printing press contributed enormously to the diffusion of the ideas of Thomas More and the rest of the humanistic thinkers.

If you want to know more about Tomás Moro and Humanism, keep reading this article that offers you a TEACHER.

You may also like: Representatives of Humanism


  1. Tomás Moro, one of the greatest exponents of Humanism
  2. Utopia, the most important work of Thomas More
  3. More works by Tomás Moro
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Tomás Moro, one of the greatest exponents of Humanism.

The Humanism anticipates the Renaissance and supposes the passage of the Middle Ages to Modernity. It is the end of theocentrism and the beginning of anthropocentrism. The human being replaces God as the center of the universe. The reason it takes the place of faith and what is important now is everything that has to do with the individual and society.

Education is no longer just the privilege of a few, and a good part of the European population has access to it. And thanks to the printing, the ideas of humanistic philosophers expanded quickly across the continent.

Europe look at the classics, it rises from the ashes left by the medieval period. The ancient philosophy it had all the answers that the Middle Ages had ignored and covered up. The classics thus become the model to imitate. This not only affects philosophy, but society, politics, art, literature and culture in general.

Between the highs representatives of Humanism stand out, next to Thomas More, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Luis Vives, Pico della Mirandola or Marsilio Ficino.

Moro's most important work, Utopia, published in the year 1516, addresses different problems that affect to society and to the human being. This is, without a doubt, a fundamental book and a whole reference of Humanism, in which the influence of his friend Erasmus of Rotterdam can be appreciated.

Utopia, the most important work of Thomas More.

To know the relationship between Thomas More and Humanism it is important to analyze his works. One of the most important is Utopia, whose original title is Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo reipublicae statu, deque nova insula Vtopi or "Truly golden booklet, no less beneficial than entertaining, on the best state of a republic and on the new island of"Utopia"; It was published in the year 1516. The work consists of two parts:

  • 1st part: it is a dialogue regarding the English society of his time.
  • 2nd part: It consists of the description of the island "Utopia" made by the explorer, named Raphael Hythlodaeus, when he returns to the European continent.

Thomas More tells the story of a community that is governed by classical and Christian values, where peace reigns and private property does not exist, which would be, according to Moro, the main cause of conflict between the different European peoples. In addition, although there is no democratic system on the island like the current one, the rulers are elected through the vote of the people.

In the book, Tomás Moro describes the geographic and urban situation of the island, a creation of the island's inhabitants, under the orders of the King Utopo, who ordered to cut the isthmus, thus separating it from the continent. Your capital, Amaurota, reminds a lot of London. In addition, he explains what the agricultural system, architecture, politics, work organization and religion of Utopia are like, without forgetting that it constitutes a criticism of society of The time. This is reflected in the following text:

So when I look at those republics that flourish everywhere today, I don't see in them - God forgive me! - but rather the conspiracy of the rich to procure their own comforts in the name of the republic. They imagine and invent all sorts of devices to preserve, without fear of losing them, all the things that have been appropriate with bad arts, and also to abuse the poor by paying them for their work as little money as they can. And when the rich have decreed that such inventions be carried out for the benefit of the community, that is, the poor as well, they immediately become laws.

Thomas More and Humanism: summary - Utopia, the most important work of Thomas More

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More works by Tomás Moro.

All the work of Thomas More revolves around a common axis: humanism and the fight for the end of tyranny, which according to this author, is the daughter of greed. In addition to Utopia, the English thinker wrote different works of a social, political and religious nature. Among them, the following stand out:

  • Life of Pico della Mirandola (in Spanish "Vida de Pico della Mirandola"), and consists basically of the autobiography of the Italian philosopher and author of Speech on the dignity of man, emblematic work of the humanism.
  • History Richardi Tertii (History of Ricardo III), and in it Moro condemns the murderer of the brother and the small children of Eduardo IV in order to ascend to the throne. The book inspired Shakespeare to write Richard III.
  • He also wrote poems like Epigrammata, where your ideas are reflected against absolutism and tyranny, which feeds on greed and the thirst for power. Because the good king is the one who protects his subjects:

What is the good prince? He is the guardian dog of the flock, who by barking drives away the wolves. And what is the bad prince? It is precisely the wolf

We must also mention his dialogues, such as Responsio ad Lutherum, The Confutation of Tyndale's Answer or The Answer to a Poisoned Book. Or the religious texts of him like Treatise on the Passion, Treatise on the Blessed Body, Instructions and Prayers or By Tristia Christi.

If you want to read more articles similar to Thomas More and Humanism: summary, we recommend that you enter our category of Philosophy.


Moro, T. Utopia. Ed. Ariel. 2016

Reale, G. Antiseri, D. History of Philosophy. Ed. Herder. 2010

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