Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Noel Carroll

Subject Categories

Other Philosophy


Immanuel Kant, sublime, nature, power, supersensible, infinity, Critique of Judgement, aesthetic judgement, mathematical sublimity, dynamical subilmity, exposition


I begin by providing an exposition of Kant’s cognitive and phenomenological trajectory during experiences of mathematical and dynamical sublimity. I use this moment of elucidation to highlight certain implications of Kant’s account which reveal a necessary crutch on sublimity’s self-preservationist motivations, concluding realization of the judging subjects as superior to the power intuited and emphasis on the feeling and apprehension of infinity. This skeletal view of Kant’s argument allows for the argument of my three main criticisms: (i) the incoherence of his sublime feeling with other recounted phenomenologies of the experience, (ii) the fallibility of his key premise which states that judgments of sublimity are necessarily based on sensorial, non-determinate apprehensions of power and domination in objects of nature and (iii) how the reality that humans can and have subjugated nature in our own ways complicates the sublime’s persistently affective nature. I conclude the essay with an attempt to briefly present my own theory of sublimity. I write that sublime experiences are, essentially, the discoveries of supersensible truths or ideas which fundamentally alter one’s sense of being in the world. Among the objects conducive to these types of emotional understanding are pieces of art (painting, sculpture, cinema, etc.), literature and objects of experience whose intuition carries with it ideas of supersensible associations or origin, properties of intrigue, and obscurity.