The Kantian theory of the sublime and humanist politics

Date
2013
Advisor
Gürata, Ahmet
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Bilkent University
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Language
English
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Abstract

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s rendition of cosmopolitanism and the sublime have been quite popular separately in various discussions on politics and aesthetics since the late 90s. In today’s political conjuncture the Kantian sublime is consulted in describing the social disasters that had broad repercussions in international public. This study argues that in this century, Kantian ideal of cosmopolitanism together with its close relevance to human rights stands in an unusual relation with the sublime due to the feeling of distant suffering caused by social disasters. Moreover, this relation indicates that Kant’s cosmopolitanism and sublime can be tools for contemplating contemporary world politics. The present study seeks to disclose this present relationship and the regained value of Kantian philosophy in the face of a new world order through examining a) Kantian cosmopolitanism normatively, as in its original version and; theoretically as in the discussions on its revival in late 90s; b) the transformation of the Kantian sublime after 1945; and c) the state of distant suffering in the face of social disasters of the 20th century interpreted as sublime and its relation to ideal of cosmopolitanism.

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Kant, Cosmopolitanism, Aesthetic experience, Sublime, Distant suffering
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Published Version (Please cite this version)