Monday, December 3, 2012

Corrington's new book: Nature's Sublime: an Essay in Aesthetic Naturalism (Preface)

PORTRAIT: Robert S. Corrington
Robert S. Corrington's tenth book, Nature's Sublime: An Essay in Aesthetic Naturalism, marks a major shift in Corringtonian thought to a third phase now being referred to as "Corrington 3" or C3 for short.  Immediately one notices the hallmark of C3: aesthetic naturalism, as that term is found in the book's subtitle - "An Essay in Aesthetic Naturalism."  Is this new Corringtonian naturalism still ecstatic, however?  What are the new features of this new Corrington?  What remains the same?

In a way, Corrington is returning to his roots in aesthetics as informed by two major influences: German romanticism and idealism (through Schopenhauer and to some degree Kant) and "psychosemiotics" (psychoanalysis understood through the lens of semiotic theory).  Phenomenology and Justus Buchler's ordinal metaphysics are both not forgotten either, as they are combined in a new method which Corrington calls "empathic" ordinal phenomenology.

In another way, though, Corrington 3 is new territory.  The regions of self, community, religion, and nature - themes predominant in books such as The Community of Interpreters or Nature & Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism - books of "Corrington 1" - are present.   But each of these themes are radically recast with a new aesthetics in mind.  The aesthetics that Corrington is interpreting here is one which takes the sublime as its key motif.  The sublime, we are told, reveals what is most essential about natura naturans ("nature naturing") and its relationship to "the human process," a Buchlerian term designating a "self" understood as creative agent - an agent requiring ordinal treatment for its ecological and aesthetic dimension defies "traditional" phenomenological analysis.  The split between nature naturing and nature natured is taken up with the sublime in mind, and how the human being relates psychoanalytically, semiotically, to the sublime, is a major theme of the book.