Kant on Sublimity and Morality

Kant on Sublimity and Morality

Joshua Rayman
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Kant on Sublimity and Morality
    Book Description:

    Kant on Sublimity and Morality provides an argument to the essential moral significance of the Kantian sublime and situates this argument within the history of the relationship between sublimity and morality.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2507-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  6. Part I: Genealogy of the Kantian Sublime
    • 1 Longinus and the Origins of the Sublimity–Morality Connection
      (pp. 3-12)

      Eighteenth-century debates on the sublime tell us much about the origins of Kantian sublimity and its connections to morality, for Kant relies heavily on these debates.¹ But many fail to see that eighteenth-century accounts of the sublime themselves rely on the ancient Greek author Longinus (long confused with the neo-Platonist Cassius Longinusc.220–73 CE, author of a rhetoric text (in Burke: 468)). No figure is more important to the history of sublimity. Longinus dictated the terms of all subsequent writing on sublimity and articulated positions that in some respects are more amenable to Kantian morality than any of the...

    • 2 Sublimity and Morality in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetics
      (pp. 13-33)

      Despite the many Longinian and German elements in Kantian sublimity, many Anglo-American scholars attribute the greatest influence on Kantian aesthetics to eighteenth-century British aesthetics. For instance, Edgar Carritt attributes the entirety of Kant’s account of beauty, with the exception of systematic form, to British aesthetics; Lewis White Beck calls the 1763 Kant a disciple of the British critics Shaftesbury and Hutcheson (Beck: 332, in Zammito: 29); Paul Crowther, whose prehistory of the Kantian sublime refers only to the British critics Addison and Burke (Crowther: 7–8), argues that Kant relies ‘very heavily’ on Burke (ibid.: 12); Rachel Zuckert, ignoring other...

    • 3 Kant’s German Precursors
      (pp. 34-48)

      If there is good reason to accept the common view that British empiricism strongly influenced Kantian aesthetics, it is important to recognize both that this influence waned after the 1760s and that the German rationalist tradition in which Kant was trained provided an intellectual framework for his early, non-systematic aesthetics as well as his later critical, systematic aesthetics. This intellectual framework is the basis for Kant’s transformation of the experience of sublimity into something of real significance for a universalizable morality. The key German philosophical figures for Kant’s aesthetic development were Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), Leibniz’s disciple, Christian Wolff...

  7. Part II: Kant on Sublimity and Morality
    • 4 The Moral Functions of Sublimity in the Kantian System
      (pp. 51-92)

      In the history of the pre-Kantian association of sublimity and morality that I have provided in the first three chapters, I describe significant respects in which Kantian sublimity is derivative of earlier views, including its definitions, its connection to Aristotelian virtues, its association with an exemplary list of phenomena involving power, magnitude and number, its mathematical–dynamical distinction and its transcendence of human or natural forces. I also identify many differences between Kant’s views and any single previous account. Kant’s differences withallprevious accounts form the basis for the following chapters, in which I argue that the Kantian sublime...

    • 5 Replies to Objections to Sublimity’s Moral Functions
      (pp. 93-140)

      In this chapter, I address the strongest objections against this reading of the moral functions of Kantian sublimity. (1) I argue against the view that sublimity’s functions can only be analogous to morality because there is a barrier between aesthetics or sublimity and morality. I show that Kant’s moral and aesthetic projects are always mixed and that there is considerable continuity between the moral and aesthetic works. (2) I argue that respect in the ‘moral’ works is identical to respect in the ‘Analytic of the Sublime’. (3) I argue that moral feeling, by contrast, is distinct from respect in the...

  8. Part III: Sublimity and Morality in German Idealism and Recent Continental Philosophy
    • 6 Post-Kantian Continental Work on Sublimity and Morality
      (pp. 143-190)

      The post-Kantian Continental tradition of aesthetics shares many of the problems of recent analytic Kant scholarship on the relationship between sublimity and morality, except that the former also includes within it substantially accurate interpretations of Kantian sublimity, as well as interestingly different directions for the expression of sublimity in morality and politics. To write a chapter on post-Kantian Continental work on sublimity and morality is to restore a neglected, even repressed, element of the history of sublimity and to show the significance of Kantian sublimity and morality to later Continental aesthetics. For no clear reason, scholars ranging from Jared Moore,...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 191-200)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-210)
  11. Index
    (pp. 211-216)