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Utopia

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Utopia And Progress: The Case Of Thomas Paine's Apocalypse, Daniel Betti Mar 2014

Utopia And Progress: The Case Of Thomas Paine's Apocalypse, Daniel Betti

Arts and Letters Conference

One of the overlooked aspects of political utopianism is the mechanism which brings about the utopia. What brings about the change from the ordinary politics of the present to the utopian state? For Thomas Paine the change is apocalyptic. Paine’s later writing testifies to the sudden birth of reason in the world and foresees its sweeping effect over individual human minds and human societies. He describes reason as an irresistible revelation, an apocalypse. Evaluating the American and French revolutions, Paine identifies the mechanism of change as the rational apocalypse itself. On the one hand, this mechanism of change shatters ...