One Example of Sublimity in Kant
Aesthetic theorists have not yet been able to answer the question of the value of art to Kant’s Critical theory of the sublime (Brady, 2012) and (Doran, 2015). This is despite Kant’s explicit rejection of the possibility of an experience of the “improperly called sublime” through a work of art (CPR, 5:264). However, the fact that this rejection is followed by a reference to a work of art as an example of sublimity (CPR, 5:265), has not yet been explored. Some work has already begun on investigating the value of examples in Kantian methodology (Stroud, 2014). In my paper, I would like to further this still nascent field through a discussion of the important difference between examples of the “improperly called sublime” and sublimity (CPR). Only a close textual analysis of the Savoyard Peasant, as the sole figurative representation of sublimity, can help us to correctly evaluate the role of art in an aesthetic experience of the Kantian sublime. Is the Savoyard Peasant an example; a schemata; or, a hypotyposis? The exploration of the poetic function of language as a communicative tool of not only aesthetic experience; but also of moral ideas, is important to the rehabilitation of the study of rhetoric, and, to the development of our understanding of the Kantian project.