Sublimity and Joy: Kant on the Aesthetic Constitution of Virtue

In Matthew Altman (ed.), The Palgrave Kant Handbook. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 447-467 (2017)
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This chapter argues that Kant’s aesthetic theory of the sublime has particular relevance for his ethics of virtue. Kant contends that our readiness to revel in natural sublimity depends upon a background commitment to moral ends. Further lessons about the emotional register of the sublime allow us to understand how Kant can plausibly contend that the temperament of virtue is both sublime and joyous at the same time.

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Melissa M Merritt
University of New South Wales


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