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Article

Beginning with Kant: Utopia, Immanence, and the Origin of German Idealism

Russian Journal of Philosophy & Humanities. 2017. Vol. 1. No. 2. P. 71-90.

This paper outlines a utopic reading of the Kantian origin of German Idealism, which in turn implies and necessitates a rearticulation of the concept of utopia. In this optic, utopia ceases to be a mere idealistic vision of the future and becomes, first and foremost, a utopian method and standpoint from which Kantian idealism begins. Utopia, in this sense, originates as if at a distance from the real, but in such a way that it remains impossible to reach it from within reality; any such transition would have to remain, at best, an infinite approximation. It is therefore pointless to expect utopia — one can only begin from it. This implies a different, non-Spinozan immanence, which this paper characterizes as utopian and discovers in Kant. On this reading, transcendental idealism, as non-realism, suspends the real and starts from a “non-place,” refusing to think the emergence of the ideal from any environment or the in-itself. This non-place is reduplicated as an immanent, non-dualist facticity from which the subject of idealism proceeds to think and act. Idealism thus implies a utopian structure (non-relation), operation (suspension), and temporality (futurity-as-facticity), which, taken together, suggest a different way of looking at the continuity between Kant and
post-Kantian idealism, as well as a way to think immanence as non-Spinozistic — and even as deconstructing Spinozism — while also avoiding any dualism, including that of the religious-secular binary.