Aesthetic Ineffability and the Rebirth of the Reader

Guest post by Venkat Ramanan The adjective “ineffable” appears to be used mostly in relation to either (a) a spiritual/mystical experience or (b) when we appreciate a work of visual or plastic art.  Here are some examples of (a) -  The British writer Karen Armstrong described Laozi (the Chinese philosopher from the 6th century BCE) … Continue reading Aesthetic Ineffability and the Rebirth of the Reader

Tragic Freedom: Murdoch on the Sublime

Guest post by Meredith Drees In 1959 Iris Murdoch wrote “The Sublime and The Good,”[1] in order to sketch a “definition [of art] through a consideration and criticism of Kant’s” (S&G, 43). Murdoch’s general view of aesthetics is strongly influenced by Kant’s, but she argues that his theory must be rejected because it “fails to … Continue reading Tragic Freedom: Murdoch on the Sublime

Sublimity as a Symbol of Moral Dignity

Guest post by Meredith Drees In Kant’s Critique of Judgment, he states that “sublime is what even to be able to think proves that the mind has a power surpassing any standard of sense” (25:250).[1] My aim in this essay is to argue that experiences of sublimity give us a glimpse of morality and true … Continue reading Sublimity as a Symbol of Moral Dignity

'Vivaldi for Gorillas': Seeking Aesthetics in Adversity

Guest Post by Venkat Ramanan While held prisoner in Auschwitz, the Italian writer Primo Levi, in an effort to keep himself anchored, tried to recall all the cantos of Dante’s The Divine Comedy and explicate its intricacies to his fellow inmates. There were, naturally, gaps in Levi’s memory. He got frustrated with this lapse and … Continue reading 'Vivaldi for Gorillas': Seeking Aesthetics in Adversity