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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 13, Issue 2, Fall 2016

Byron Williston
Pages 155-174
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil201610338

The Sublime Anthropocene

In the Anthropocene, humanity has been forced to a self-critical reflection on its place in the natural order. A neglected tool for understanding this is the sublime. Sublime experience opens us up to encounters with ‘formless’ nature at the same time as we recognize the inevitability of imprinting our purposes on nature. In other words, it is constituted by just the sort of self-critical stance towards our place in nature that I identify as the hallmark of the Anthropocene ‘collision’ between human and earth histories.

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