Pandora's box: Reflections on a myth

Critical Horizons 9 (1):24-41 (2008)
The article seeks to consider the relationship between hope and utopianism by looking at the ancient Greek myth of Pandora's Box, with its enigmatic figure of hope. It begins by considering Hesiod's influential formulation of the myth, before examining a range of modern interpretations in which diverse conceptions of hope are to be found. Using the work of Spinoza, Hume and Day an alternative conception of hope is proposed that conjoins hope with fear. This is followed by an exploration of the utopian, using this time another figure associated with the myth, Prometheus. An attempt is then made to differentiate the frequently conflated concepts of hope and the utopian. Finally, in the spirit of recent post-secularism, the two concepts are brought to bear on the nature of religion.
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