ABSTRACT

Thomas More’s Utopia represents not a pleasurable alternative world, but rather a debate on how to make life more pleasurable in the actual world. It involves a tussling with questions of truth in an age in which unifying transcendental answers were giving way to more instrumental solutions as demanded by the growth of mercantile city-states. This article traces the function of pleasure in Utopia as a dialectically mediating agent on the recognition that pleasure is available only in compromised form. For More, solutions must be sought through the mind’s capacity to form agreeable relations out of contradictions. It implies assembling meaning from the perspectives Utopia provides, and a constant balancing and rebalancing process in search of an overall point of view that may give pleasure.

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