Aesthetic Reflection in Kant and HegelBook - 2000
The topic of the sublime is making a return to contemporary discourse on aestheticsand cognition. In Sublime Understanding, Kirk Pillow makes sublimity the center of an alternativeconception of aesthetic response and interpretation. He draws an aesthetics of sublimity from Kant'sCritique of Judgment, bolsters it with help from Hegel, and establishes its place in a broadenedconception of human understanding (thus differing from the many scholars who use Hegel to dismissKant or vice versa). He argues that sublime reflection provides a model for an interpretive responseto the uncanny Other outside our conceptual grasp; it advances our sense-making pursuits but eschewsunified, conceptual determination. Thus "sublime understanding" is the always partial, indeterminategrasping of contextual wholes through which we make sense of the uncanny particular in both art andthe lived world.The book is divided into three parts. In the first two parts, Pillow presentsinsightful reinterpretations of Kant's and Hegel's aesthetics. In the third part he develops his ownmodel of an aestheticized understanding, which illuminates contemporary discussions of metaphor andinterpretation, while bridging Anglo-American and continental treatments of these issues. Thepresentation is a model of clear and well-crafted exposition, exemplifying the practice ofaesthetically reflective sublime understanding that it articulates.