Tussen hoop en distopie : 'n kritiek van die utopiese rede

Engelbrecht, Schalk Willem Petrus (2010-12)

Thesis (PhD (Philosophy))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Utopie is dood. Daar is geen meer hoop dat die toekoms radikaal anders of moreel meerwaardig kan wees gemeet teen die hede nie. Om utopiese alternatiewe tot ons huidige samelewingsrangskikking te verbeel is onrealisties, en selfs gevaarlik. Daarom lewer die utopiese verbeelding vandag slegs distopieë – as ons vandag 'n andersoortige samelewing verbeel kan ons slegs dink dat dit 'n nagmerrie moet wees. Die resultaat is politieke apatie en 'n gewilligheid om onsself te versoen met die status quo. As teenvoeter vir die bogenoemde politieke apatie vra ek in hierdie proefskrif of dit vandag nog moontlik is om utopies te dink. Om hierdie vraag te beantwoord ondersoek ek eers die sogenaamde "einde" of "dood" van utopie. Utopie is vandag dood omdat die metafisiese onderbou daaran verdag geraak het, en omdat 'n utopiese gees aktief onderdruk word via 'n verskeidenheid ideologiese strategieë. Ten spyte van hierdie probleme is 'n andersoortige en postmetafisiese utopisme wel vandag moontlik, en die kontoere van hierdie nuwe utopiese rasionaliteit word nagespoor in die werk van eietydse filosowe soos Richard Rorty, Gianni Vattimo, Fredric Jameson, Slavoj Žižek en Jacques Derrida. In hulle werk herleef 'n utopiese gees wat nie meer gebonde is aan ons metafisiese filosofiese erfenis nie. Hierdie gees manifesteer ook nie (slegs) in die vorm van sketse van ideale samelewings nie, maar eerder as hermeneutiese praktyke wat die koms van sosiale alteriteit fasiliteer. Hierdie utopiese gees, in voeling met 'n postmetafisiese intellektuele klimaat, bied ek aan as 'n noodsaaklike voorwaarde vir sosiale hoop.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Utopia is dead. There is no hope today that the future will be radically different from, or ethically superior to the present. To dream up utopian alternatives to our society is unrealistic, even dangerous. It is no surprise, then, that the existing utopian imagination produces only dystopias – if we think at all of a radically different society, we can only imagine something nightmarish. The result: a political apathy and a willingness to reconcile ourselves with the status quo. To counter the abovementioned political apathy, I ask in this dissertation if it is still possible to think in a utopian fashion. In order to answer this question I start off by examining the so-called "end" or "death" of utopia. Utopia is dead today because of its questionable metaphysical foundations, and because of an active ideological repression of any utopian impulse. In spite of these problems a new and postmetaphysical utopianism is possible. The contours of this new utopianism can be extrapolated from the work of contemporary philosophers like Richard Rorty, Gianni Vattimo, Fredric Jameson, Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Derrida. In their work a utopian spirit is revived – a spirit no longer constrained by our metaphysical philosophical heritage. This spirit is manifested, not (only) in sketches of ideal societies, but rather in hermeneutic practices that facilitate the arrival of social alterity. I present this utopian spirit, in touch with a postmetaphysical intellectual climate, as a necessary condition for social hope.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5367
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