The Kantian sublime: an all-too human feeling

  • Alessandra Campo Università dell'Aquila


Contrary to what Deleuze and Lyotard argue in the works they dedicate to it, with the sublime Kant does not go beyond himself. And if one cannot even say that it is hard to set up an egocentric philosophy after reading the Analytic of the Sublime, it is because in those pages Kant is less interested in the encounter of thought with its "outside" than in the possibility of endowing the sensible subject with a supersensible armor. The sublime, for Lyotard and Deleuze, is the excessive use of faculties, but Kant is more interested in regulation than excess, more in what the crisis of schematism reveals than in the crisis itself. To believe otherwise is to overlook what happens in the second time of this feeling: the elevation of the soul. Unlike the encounter with the moral law that Kant introduces in the Critique of Practical Reason as a "fact of reason", in the sublime the noumenon does not become sensible at the expense of the ego but in support of it. And, as Zupančič has shown, the ego thus elevated is not just a "super" ego but a super-ego: the imaginary version of the law.