Contemporary Environmental Aesthetics and the Neglect of the Sublime

British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (2):181-198 (2013)

Sandy Shapshay
Indiana University, Bloomington
Discussion of sublime response to natural environments is largely absent from contemporary environmental aesthetics. This is due to the fact that the sublime seems inextricably linked to extravagant metaphysical ideas. In this paper, I seek to rehabilitate a conception of sublime response that is secular, metaphysically modest and compatible with the most influential theory of environmental aesthetics, Allen Carlson’s scientific cognitivism. First, I offer some grounds for seeing the environmental sublime as a distinctive and meaningful category of contemporary aesthetic experience of nature. Next, from historical and contemporary sources, I reconstruct two philosophical accounts of what I call ‘thin’ and ‘thick’ sublime response. Finally I show how these responses are compatible with scientific cognitivism, though the latter more so than the former
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ays067
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The Role of Awe in Environmental Ethics.Katie Mcshane - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 76 (4):473-484.
The Sublime Anthropocene.Byron Williston - 2016 - Environmental Philosophy 13 (2):155-174.

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