! Due to problems at the airport as a result of the recent events in Brussels, this event is cancelled.
Lecture prof. Rachel Zuchert (Northwestern University)
“Kant’s Critique of Sublimity”
Kant’s account of the sublime in the Critique of Judgment has been extremely influential in discussions of the sublime, but seems marginal to his critical project: Kant himself notes that it is a mere “appendix” to the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, and it is unclear whether or how his account of the sublime – which largely appears to be a description of the psychological character of this type of experience – can be understood as part of the project of “critique,” which concerns the legitimacy (or not) of certain claims. In this paper, I suggest that Kant’s account of the sublime does play a significant role in Kant’s critical project, specifically as a supplement to the Critique of Pure Reason project of limiting human pretensions to knowledge of the supersensible. I argue, first, that Kant’s account of the sublime can be seen as an account of the possibility of such experience – a “critique of sublimity” as in my title – against challenges that might be raised concerning its coherence (and so possibility), if it is understood as an experience of that which is, cognitively, “beyond” the experiencer. As such, I argue moreover, Kant’s account constitutes an alternative account of what is “going on” in experiences in which we might believe ourselves to intuit that which is beyond human understanding or reason — that is, to transcend the limits Kant sets to human knowing.