The sublime of climate change

Gallie, Nicholas (2018) The sublime of climate change. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The category 'sublime', when applied to the natural world, has long been associated in Western culture, with extremes of vastness and power. When encountered, that which is deemed sublime, by virtue of these qualities, has the effect of overwhelming the mind, such that it is thrown simultaneously into a state of astonishment, admiration and horror. We are both humbled and elevated by what we behold and momentarily struck dumb, such that, in its Kantian formulation, our appreciation of that which we take to be sublime, granted us through the powers of reason, has the effect of ennobling us, as moral beings.

The concept of the sublime has continuously evolved from its classical origins right up to its present day post-modern formulations. The diversity of its forms suggests that the sublime can be regarded as polythetic. My thesis examines, how, through its different formulations, the sublime may be meaningfully applied to our perceptions of present day climate change, and the different implications arising from these applications.

My thesis asks: what is the sublime of climate change? When we look at climate change through the lens of the sublime, what do we see, and what is obscured? What is the effect on us, of opening ourselves to climate change as sublime? What implications might the sublime of climate change have for the future direction of society and therefore for the construction of climate policy and for its communication?

Original research, in the form of in-depth, unstructured, one to one interviews was conducted among senior climate scientists, business leaders and policy makers, writers and academics, inviting them to explore the theme of climate change, science and the sublime. My thesis findings are derived from my analysis of these discussions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics > BH0039 Philosophy. Methodology. Relation to other topics
Q Science > QC Physics > QC0851 Meteorology. Climatology Including the earth's atmosphere > QC0903 Variations. Climatic changes. Including global temperature changes, etc.
Q Science > QC Physics > QC0851 Meteorology. Climatology Including the earth's atmosphere > QC0901-0913 Temperature and radiation > QC0901-0906 Atmospheric temperature > QC0903 Variations. Climatic changes. Including global temperature changes, etc.
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 14:09
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 14:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/76096

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