2018-01Forum
Utopia as the Gift of Ethical Genius: Ernst Cassirer’s Theory of Utopia

Abstract:

In this essay, I explore Cassirer’s brief discussion of utopia in An Essay on Man, as likely built upon Kant’s theory of genius as from the Critique of Judgment. This exploration of Cassirer’s theory of utopia lays the groundwork to argue that a utopia is the dynamic product (work) of the “ethical genius,” a work that advances culture by luring it, via ideal imaginaries, to new realms of possibility for ethical advancement. Utopias have their dangers and limits, but nevertheless have a critical role to play in improving our ethical life.

Keywords:

utopia, eutopia, genius, cosmopolitan, culture, history, ethics, imaginaries, ideal theory, non-ideal theory, Kant

How to cite:

Kramer, Eli. “Utopia as the Gift of Ethical Genius: Ernst Cassirer’s Theory of Utopia.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 2, no. 1(3) (2018): 96–108. https://doi.org/10.26319/3910.

Author:

Eli Kramer
Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

References:

Cassirer, Ernst, and Donald P. Verene. The Logic of the Cultural Sciences: Five Studies. Translated by Steve G. Lofts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Cassirer, Ernst. An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1944.

Cassirer, Ernst. Kant’s Life and Thought. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

Cassirer, Ernst. The Myth of the State. Translated by Charles William Hendel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1946.

Cassirer, Ernst. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms-The Metaphysics of Symbolic Forms. Edited by John Michael Krois and Donald Phillipe Verene. Translated by John Michael Krois. Vol. 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Cassirer, Ernst. The Problem of Knowledge: Philosophy, Science, and History since Hegel. Translated by William H. Woglom and Charles W. Hendel. Vol. 4. New Haven: Yale Univsity Press, 1969.

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Kant, Immanuel. Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View. Translated by Robert B. Louden. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 1996.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. Translated by Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1987.

Kramer, Eli. Utopia and Human Culture: Alternative Communities of Higher Learning in America. Master’s thesis, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2015.

Reagan, Ronald. “We Will Be a City Upon a Hill.” Speech, First Conservative Political Action Conference, Washington D.C., January 25, 1977. Washington D.C. http://reagan2020.us/speeches/City_Upon_A_Hill.asp

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Valentini, Laura. “Ideal vs. Non- Ideal Theory: A Conceptual Map.” Philosophy Compass 7, no. 9 (2012): 654–64.

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