The Necessity of Feeling in Unamuno and Kant: For the Tragic as for the Beautiful and Sublime

In Abi Doukhan & Anthony Malagon (eds.), The Religious Existentialists and the Redemption of Feeling (forthcoming)

José Luis Fernández
Fairfield University
Miguel de Unamuno’s theory of tragic sentiment is rightly attributed with being influenced by the gestational thought of, inter alios, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, but in this paper I should like to suggest a peculiar kinship between seemingly strange bedfellows, namely, between Unamuno and Immanuel Kant. Although the relationship between Unamuno and Kant is conflicted, ranging from clear indications of influence to expressions of antipathy, there has been relatively little comparative research done on these two thinkers. Moreover, this scant literature has mainly explored connections between Unamuno’s existential thought and Kant’s first two Critiques. In these works, however, feelings are regarded as inclinations and thus receive no serious consideration. In this essay, I therefore juxtapose Unamuno’s analysis of tragic feeling in The Tragic Sense of Life with Kant’s discussion of the feelings of beauty and the sublime in the Critique of Judgment.
Keywords Religious Existentialism, Miguel de Unamuno, Tragedy, Kant, Beauty
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Unamuno a Philosophy of Tragedy.José Ferrater Mora - 1962 - University of California Press.
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