Sensibility and the Sublime
Philosophic attention shifted after Hegel from Kant’s emphasis on sensibility to criticism and analyses of the fine arts. The arts themselves seemed as ample as nature; a disciplined science could devote as much energy to one as the other. But then the arts began to splinter because of new technologies: photography displaced figurative painting; hearing recorded music reduced the interest in learning to play it. The firm interiority that Hegel assumed was undermined by the speed, mechanization, and distractions of modern life. We inherit two problems: restore quality and conviction in the arts; cultivate the interiority—the sensibility—that is a condition for judgment in every domain. What is sensibility’s role in experiences of every sort, but especially those provoked when art is made and enjoyed?