The Egalitarian Sublime: a Process Philosophy

My book on the sublime is going into production with Edinburgh University Press. It should be in print by August 2019. As a foretaste, here is the current version of the back cover information:

The Egalitarian Sublime: a Process Philosophy

A new, egalitarian, process philosophy of the sublime

We call sublime those things and experiences supposed to be the very best. What if the best encourages the worst? What if the best leads to inequality and exploitation?

Against unjust legacies of the traditional sublime Williams defends an anarchist sublime: multiple, self-destructive and temporary, opposed to any idea of highest value to be shared by all, but always imposed on the powerless.

He criticises the sublime, over its long history and in recent returns to sublime nature and technologies. Deploying a new critical method, Williams shows how the sublime has always led to inequality, even where it underpins ideas of cosmopolitan enlightenment, even when refined by Burke, Kant, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Žižek.

Key Features

  • First critical assessment of the idea of the sublime in terms of equality
  • Reassessment of historical theories of the sublime (Burke, Kant, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer)
  • Critique of the recent return to the sublime in Adorno, Lyotard, Brady, Nye, Zepke, Spuybroek and Lloyd
  • Explanation of some of the most influential philosophies of the sublime as unequal and unjust
  • New mapping of the sublime through its effects as part of a process philosophy approach

James Williams is Honorary Professor in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.