I have been working my way through a very interesting recent book on Kant, Sanford Budick’s Kant and Milton, and I thought of the discussions we had in the seminar about Kant’s trajectory from reflecting judgment, the judgment of taste (aesthetic judgment of reflection on the beautiful), on to the teleological judgment of reflection. Budick’s book traces the development of Kant’s ideas about the sublime through his deep appreciation of Milton’s poetics. I’ve not finished it, but what I am already realizing is that I was wrong in interpreting the analytic of the sublime as ancillary to the main trajectory in CPJ regarding the reflecting judgment. Whereas I read Kant’s comments about Taste being the “discipline of Genius” as a clear indication of the higher stakes and importance of the arguments in the Analytic of the Beautiful (in which communicability and community is emphasized over the individual experience of the subject), Budick’s work suggests that there is nothing ancillary at all and that the sublime adds something essential to the understanding of reflective teleology.
My hunch is that the analytic of the sublime is the pathway to the generation of new Ideas, which in the finale will support the positing of new conceptions and the cognitive experience of purposiveness in the Teleological Judgment of Reflection. I will try to add insights to the blog as I work my way through the text, but it is clear that instead of subordinating the sublime (and the misreadings and overemphasis of it in German Idealism on through Critical Theory), we need to look to its role as part of a development of hypotheses from perception to new cognitions of novel experiences.