Social Imaginaries

Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2019

Varieties of Creative Imagination

Mario Wenning
Pages 181-198

The Dignity of Utopian Imagination

The utopian imagination is ambivalent in that it both escapes from, while also critically engaging with contemporary societies and forms of living. This paper calls to mind the dignity of utopian longing as well as common objections against political interpretations of utopia. Philosophical utopias, it is argued, make deliberative use of the imagination by sharpening a sense of possibility and providing reasons for (or against) utopian thought-images. On this account, utopias draw on irony and satire as constructive modes of imagining unrealized potentials and exposing what falls short of these potentials. Thus conceived, the utopian imagination is not the enemy, but an essential aid of practical reason.