2018 | 2 | 1(3) | 96–108
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Utopia as the Gift of Ethical Genius: Ernst Cassirer’s Theory of Utopia

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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.
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  • Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • 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.
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