The Vortex Sublime (New York State Fair)


In the Critique of Judgment, Kant argued that people who pass negative, critical judgments ethical or political, about things like baroque palaces are making a fundamental category mistake. While this idea is in tension with the notion that the beautiful represents a symbol of morality, there’s also the argument that an aesthetic judgment re: beauty or sublimity remains independent or indifferent to extra-aesthetic considerations. In this case, I think Kant should have concurred that “the Vortex” at the New York State Fair was, indeed, “awesome.” The long swing of the main shaft is both violent and regular in the circles drawn by it. Strapped in for dear life, the riders remain, for all that, quite safe as they are hurtled through space.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
This entry was posted in uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Vortex Sublime (New York State Fair)

Leave a Reply