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Can there be a Finite Interpretation of the Kantian Sublime?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-39
Number of pages23
JournalKant Yearbook
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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Abstract

Kant’s account of the sublime makes frequent appeals to infinity, appeals which have been extensively criticised by commentators such as Budd and Crowther. This paper examines the costs and benefits of reconstructing the account in finitist terms. On the one hand, drawing on a detailed comparison of the first and third Critiques, I argue that the underlying logic of Kant’s position is essentially finitist. I defend the approach against longstanding objections, as well as addressing recent infinitist work by Moore and Smith. On the other hand, however, I argue that finitism faces distinctive problems of its own: whilst the resultant theory is a coherent and interesting one, it is unclear in what sense it remains an analysis of the sublime. I illustrate the worry by juxtaposing the finitist reading with analytical cubism.

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