Sublime Objects 2

Tomorrow I leave for RMMLA, which should be a blast. My new friend philosopher Peter Gratton will be there. I'm going to do a panel with object-oriented philosophers Ian Bogost and Levi Bryant. Ian and Levi have books that are imminent and marvelously complementary, both on OOO. Ian's is like a bonsai tree (befitting the master of the encapsulated software unit) and Levi's is like a baroque cathedral (what else to expect from a Deleuze scholar of note?).

I'm talking about the concept of “world” and how it's impossible in object-oriented ontology. You just can't have a top or a bottom level. So there might be an infinite regress. But we're happier with infinite regress than with the alternatives (some objects are more real than others, for instance, as in Aristotle's notion of substance). 

I'm going to record the session and upload it to my blog Ecology without Nature as soon as I can. 

In the meantime I've crafted my talk on sublime objects. The ideas are so tentative and new to me at present that I hesitate a little to share them. But I'm wondering whether this might be a good text around which to build a seminar. 

I have a strong intuition that the Longinian sublime is already somewhat object-oriented. In particular the feature of phantasia, derived from theories of ekphrasis, seems ripe for an object-oriented interpretation. Isn't it the case that in ekphrasis the text seems to come alive and perform all kinds of strange operations, like freezing time? 

Then there's Kant. This idea has been occurring to me in fits and starts. It would be very nice if I could make it work—Kant is the father of correlationism so it would be marvelous to find something object-oriented in his thinking. 

But it seems intuitively obvious that if beauty is a kind of virtual experience of an object, an experience that you feel is universalizable in some way that is also virtual, there is something object-like in there. Precisely because beauty depends upon a certain nonconceptual je ne sais quoi, precisely because this seems to emanate from an object (what a shame if you knew it emanated from you—then it woudn't be beautiful), there seems to be some room in there for refashioning Kantian beauty. 

What I mean is that object–object relationships could be “experiences” of beauty and sublimity. Far out, yes? 

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