‘A stranger to consciousness …’ – Lyotard and the Sublime1

Stephen Zepke

in Sublime Art

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2017 | ISBN: 9780748669998
Published online January 2019 | e-ISBN: 9781474438636 | DOI:

Series: Crosscurrents

‘A stranger to consciousness …’ – Lyotard and the Sublime1

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Lyotard’s Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime is a book collecting his ‘unpolished’ (1994: ix) lecture notes on sections 23–29 of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. As such, they modestly present themselves as an ‘explication de texte’ while in fact being a highly original interpretation of Kant’s concept of the sublime that focuses on and indeed exemplifies the heuristic function of reflective aesthetic judgment. For Kant this judgment is neither legislating nor provable, and so is excluded from the realms of both pure and practical reason, but as a result Kant hopes it can unite the faculties by revealing the transcendental conditions of an object’s particularity beyond its a priori conditions of possibility. Reflective judgment ‘endeavours’, Lyotard tells us, ‘to “discover” a generality or a universality in them [particular objects] which is not that of their possibility but of their existence’.

Keywords: Lyotard; The Sublime; Kant; Politics; Communism

Chapter.  27245 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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