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The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication

Bart Vandenabeele UGent (2010) Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference.
abstract
I address the problem of the communicability of sublime feelings and judgements, and take issue with ‘postmodern’ treatments of the sublime. These ‘postmodern’ approaches proclaim the sublime’s ineluctable violence, rupture, and negativity (Deleuze 1984; Derrida 1987; Lyotard 1994). I offer a reconstruction of Kant’s theory of the sublime, and argue that an aesthetics of the sublime undermines conventional conceptuality, but cannot be reduced to mere ‘negative’ feeling (cf. Pillow 2000). Drawing on examples of modern and contemporary art, my approach emphasises the positive role of sublime reflection in the (indeterminate) understanding of contextual wholes and never finished shared forms of life. I aim to show how the productive power of sublime communication and reflection can generate shared webs of imaginative understanding. Contra Makkreel (1998) and Pillow (2000), I argue that sublime understanding is not a mere interpretive response to semantic wholes, nor merely advances our sense-making pursuits but also enhances and stretches our conscious affective engagement with the uncanny aspects of life. In this way, sublime reflection contributes to grasping how we make sense of meaningful wholes and altering worlds through the spontaneous invention of communicable alternative webs of imaginative understanding. Deleuze, Gilles (1984). Kant’s Critical Philosophy (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press). Derrida, Jacques (1987). The Truth in Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Makkreel, Rudolf (1998). “Sublimity, Genius and the Explication of Aesthetic Ideas,” in Herman Parret (ed.), Kants Ästhetik / Kant’s Aesthetics / L’esthétique de Kant (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter). Lyotard, Jean-François (1994). Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime (Stanford: Standford Unversity Press). Pillow, Kirk (2000). Sublime Understanding: Aesthetic Reflection in Kant and Hegel (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference
pages
258 -
publisher
European Communication Research and Education Association
conference name
Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons
conference location
Hamburg
conference start
2010-10-12
conference end
2010-10-15
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
1057511
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1057511
alternative location
http://www.ecrea2010hamburg.eu/
date created
2010-10-11 16:02:19
date last changed
2016-12-19 15:34:54
@inproceedings{1057511,
  abstract     = {I address the problem of the communicability of sublime feelings
and judgements, and take issue with {\textquoteleft}postmodern{\textquoteright} treatments of the
sublime. These {\textquoteleft}postmodern{\textquoteright} approaches proclaim the sublime{\textquoteright}s
ineluctable violence, rupture, and negativity (Deleuze 1984; Derrida
1987; Lyotard 1994). I offer a reconstruction of Kant{\textquoteright}s theory of the
sublime, and argue that an aesthetics of the sublime undermines
conventional conceptuality, but cannot be reduced to mere {\textquoteleft}negative{\textquoteright}
feeling (cf. Pillow 2000). Drawing on examples of modern and contemporary
art, my approach emphasises the positive role of sublime
reflection in the (indeterminate) understanding of contextual wholes
and never finished shared forms of life. I aim to show how the productive
power of sublime communication and reflection can generate
shared webs of imaginative understanding. Contra Makkreel
(1998) and Pillow (2000), I argue that sublime understanding is not
a mere interpretive response to semantic wholes, nor merely advances
our sense-making pursuits but also enhances and stretches
our conscious affective engagement with the uncanny aspects of life.
In this way, sublime reflection contributes to grasping how we make
sense of meaningful wholes and altering worlds through the spontaneous
invention of communicable alternative webs of imaginative
understanding.
Deleuze, Gilles (1984). Kant{\textquoteright}s Critical Philosophy (Minneapolis: Minnesota University
Press).
Derrida, Jacques (1987). The Truth in Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press).
Makkreel, Rudolf (1998). {\textquotedblleft}Sublimity, Genius and the Explication of Aesthetic Ideas,{\textquotedblright}
in Herman Parret (ed.), Kants {\"A}sthetik / Kant{\textquoteright}s Aesthetics / L{\textquoteright}esth{\'e}tique de Kant
(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter).
Lyotard, Jean-Fran\c{c}ois (1994). Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime (Stanford:
Standford Unversity Press).
Pillow, Kirk (2000). Sublime Understanding: Aesthetic Reflection in Kant and Hegel
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).},
  author       = {Vandenabeele, Bart},
  booktitle    = {Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Hamburg},
  publisher    = {European Communication Research and Education Association},
  title        = {The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication},
  url          = {http://www.ecrea2010hamburg.eu/},
  year         = {2010},
}

Chicago
Vandenabeele, Bart. 2010. “The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication.” In Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference, 258. European Communication Research and Education Association.
APA
Vandenabeele, B. (2010). The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication. Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference (p. 258). Presented at the Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons, European Communication Research and Education Association.
Vancouver
1.
Vandenabeele B. The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication. Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference. European Communication Research and Education Association; 2010. p. 258.
MLA
Vandenabeele, Bart. “The Productive Power of Sublime Reflection and Communication.” Transcultural Communication and Intercultural Comparisons - Third European Communication Conference. European Communication Research and Education Association, 2010. 258. Print.