Such biological perfectibilism
is precisely what Malthus opposed in contemporaries like Godwin who were optimistic enough to believe in the inevitability of individual and social progress.
In Blake's drastically modified version of Godwinian perfectibilism
, a metaphysical dimension must be retained despite its risks, if modern utopian politics are to become as humane as they intend.
Shelley's critique of Malthus took a different tactic; he objected to it on the grounds of its misrepresentation of Godwinian perfectibilism
. Connell argues that Bentham's influence on Shelley's Philosophical View of Reform, and to radical circles in general, has been undervalued.
The Universal Reformer is here figured as a perverted Prospero, a wicked magician employing his supernal arts in the cause of an unholy (and wholly illogical) perfectibilism
. Likewise Hawthorne's tales of the New England Puritans--whose purpose, of course, was the utopian goal of founding, in John Winthrop's famous phrase, a City on a Hill, a New Jerusalem--evince a skepticism toward their fanatical zeal to redeem the world, with the whipping-post and brand when necessary.
He stresses Coornhert's "perfectibilism
" and in fact concludes by accepting the Gomarist view that Coornhert was one of those by whom Arminius was led astray in his teaching on predestination.
Voogt's lucid thematic biography dilates upon Coornhert's theologico-philosophical and politico-pragmatic pro-toleration arguments, against the background of his perfectibilism
and rationalistic spiritualism and the birth of the Dutch Republic.
Godwin's Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), that paean to philosophical anarchism that inspired a generation of radicals and Romantics--particularly, of course, Shelley--projected perfectibilism