The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art

The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art

The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art

The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art

Synopsis

In recent years Kant's aesthetic theory has been the subject of a widespread revival of interest amongst English-speaking philosophers. This revival, however, has not so far encompassed Kant's aesthetic of the sublime. This neglect is unfortunate because, amongst Continental philosophers,the Kantian sublime is currently receiving widespread discussion in debates about the nature of postmodernism. Paul Crowther thus breaks new ground by providing what is probably the first monograph in any language to be devoted exclusively to Kant's theory of the sublime.

Excerpt

The 1970s and 1980s have witnessed a major renewal of interest in Kant's aesthetics. Paul Guyer, Donald Crawford, Francis Coleman, Eva Schaper, Theodore Uehling, Salim Kemal, and Mary McCloskey have all written books explicitly devoted to the topic; Guyer and Ted Cohen have edited a collection of relevant essays; and Antony Savile and Mary Mothersill have written widely praised general works which involve much discussion of Kant's aesthetic theory. These approaches, however, have concentrated almost exclusively on Kant's treatment of beauty and art. His extensive discussion of the sublime, in contrast, has received scant attention. This neglect is a general characteristic of the reception of Kant's aesthetics in the Anglo-American and German traditions of philosophy in the twentieth century. The reasons behind it have been usefully summarized by Paul Guyer. He suggests that Kant's theory of the sublime does not fit in well with the general framework of The Critique of Judgement—and in particular with the account of aesthetic experience. Indeed, he goes so far as to say that

even if there is historical interest in Kant's discussion of the sublime, I think it is safe to assume that his analysis of this particular aesthetic merit will not be of much interest to modern sensibilities, and thus that

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