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Physics and Metaphysics: Transcendence, Holism, and Sublimity in David Bohm’s ‘Implicate Order’ Theory

Conference presentation: IUB Bremen, May 2006

Since the realisation in the mid 1920s that nature, in Heisenberg’s words, could ‘…possibly be as absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments,[1]’ quantum mechanics has been the catalyst for some of the most surprising and far-reaching ideas in contemporary metaphysics[2]. Trading in terms such as ‘indeterminacy,’ ‘uncertainty,’ and ‘unknowability,’ quantum theory continues to challenge the assumption of an intuitively imaginable and knowable order in the universe. In particular, the view that the underlying structure of reality is field-like rather than particle-like, along with the Copenhagen assertion that any observation of atomic phenomena involves an interaction with the agency of observation which prevents an independent reality being ascribed to either of them[3], has led to the embodiment in physics of metaphysical themes attributed to the feature of ‘wholeness’ of quantum phenomena, and the inseparability of subject and object[4]. These themes have had a dramatic impact on human thinking and knowledge in general[5].

While holism in one form or another has always been a tenet of contemporary physics, the implications of non-locality stemming from Bell’s Theorem and the 1982 Aspect experiments attest to a whole that ultimately has no definable parts, since science can only correlate relations between particulars[6]. In demonstrating that reality eludes traditional conceptions of representation, the realisation that the whole cannot be represented as a sum of its parts discloses an unexpected limit to scientific knowledge which sees ontological and metaphysical speculation interacting with other areas of thought[7]. The consequent appeal to terms used in transcendental, theological, and mystical discourses in physicist’s writing today indicates just how entangled physics and metaphysics are: not content with insights into nature, we are demanding of physics some understanding of existence itself[8].

Physicist David Bohm, in particular, argues for a reinstatement of meaning and value into the scientific worldview. Scientific theories are not ‘descriptions of reality as it is,’ he says, but forms of insight[9]. To regard them as truth reinforces a fragmentary picture of the world as constituted of separately existing ‘atomic building blocks’[10]. Bohm advocates that we adopt a new form of insight in which the world is viewed as an ‘undivided whole, in which all parts of the universe…merge and unite into one totality’[11].

Bohm sees a new generative order emerging from the discoveries at the quantum level, an ‘implicate order’ which he claims has significance extending beyond physics to an understanding of unity in all areas of life. Bohm’s ‘implicate order’ is a kind of whole generated from the basic principles of quantum mechanics which exhibit a global or non-local property of enfoldment of information[12]’ Reversing the reductionist view that the whole is the sum of its parts, he proposes instead that the whole is fundamental, and that the parts—the ‘explicate order’—are the result of the enfolding of the ‘implicate order’—the primary framework of reality. The implicate order is a hidden dimension of infinite depth which gives rise to the visible explicate matter of our space-time universe. Bohm contends that as this new order of a whole and undivided totality replaces the old order of separation traditionally utilised by science it will become the basis for nothing less than a new world-view—a synthesis of art, science and spirituality which can enable the establishment of a common culture[13].

Developments in physics and cosmology are said to be revealing the ‘aesthetic and spiritual meanings of nature’ and our connectedness to a ‘creative and mysterious universe’[14]. As such, physics is reviving Romanticist notions of transcendence and the interconnectedness of all things[15]. Characterised by themes of unity and multiplicity, the whole and the parts, and the infinite and the finite, the Romantic belief that a communion with nature can provide access to direct, intuitive truth now finds expression in physics’ holistic account of an interconnected universe.

This discourse also confirms that an abiding influence in modern metaphysics remains Kant’s vision of a finite humanity cast into an infinite world yet exalted by the infinitude of freedom[16]. The desire for a sense of unity in the face of the unpresentable accords the subject a central role in the creation of meaning, and physicists’ writings express that same tension between our awareness of finitude and our status as rational beings which characterises the Kantian sublime. And while Kant declared science incapable of solving the main problems of metaphysics[17] (such as God, free will, and immortality) since science deals only with the world of appearance and not with things-in-themselves[18], physicists are transforming these metaphysical problems into problems of physics[19].

Bohm aims to restore objective reality to the conventional understanding of quantum mechanics. Rejecting the non-realist orthodoxy of Copenhagen, Bohm contends that the wholeness implicit in a reality structure that is founded on quantum discontinuity, context-dependent form (the wave-particle duality), and non-locality is actual, it matters, and it warrants serious investigation[20]. He asserts that because the structure of reality implied by 20th-century physics is enfolded within the whole it is thus available to human experience. Wholeness is more than a theoretical notion for Bohm, it is a field of meaning, a living totality that includes us as active participants[21].

Adopting the analogy of a hologram, Bohm argues that each point in space-time is not only connected to every other but contains every other in a constant process of enfolding and unfolding which he calls the ‘holomovement.’ This movement is described by the mathematics of quantum theory, he says: ‘a movement of waves that unfold and enfold throughout the whole of space[22].’ This ‘undivided wholeness in flowing movement’ is the fundamental pre-existing ground of all matter, an unknowable and indescribable sea of energy in which all things form and dissolve and in which we are like that which we observe, merging ultimately with the universal field movement[23]. In this flux, mind and matter are not separate substances[24].

Bohm also proposes the use of ‘artistic sensibilities to discern meaning within this totality. As in the Romantic view of the world as an infinite text in which our interpretations derive from our ‘sympoetic’ readings of it[25], any conception of reality expressed in terms of a dynamic, seamless continuum which includes us as active participants[26] cannot be entirely understood by reason alone but requires mediation via the aesthetic imagination. Bohm’s aestheticism is encapsulated in his belief that not only is scientific inquiry itself richly aesthetic, but that “fundamentally, all activity is an art…art is present everywhere.’ Even the idea of the cosmos, as derived from the Greek ‘order,’ is ‘an artistic concept really[27].’

That contemporary romanticism should embrace physics in order to explore the value of human existence[28] is consistent with the early Romanticist elevation of nature as a means to self-reflection, wherein the individual is not only the source of reason but also the source of creativity. Schelling’s natural philosophy combined Kant’s transcendental idealism with the belief that transcendental ideas had an objective existence in nature, whereupon the aesthetic contemplation of nature could restore a fragmented humankind to unity, reintegrate sense and feeling with reason, and relocate the individual in an organic relationship with their environment. Kant’s link between natural science and aesthetics as quests for order which lie beyond the bounds of sense found acceptance in the belief that aesthetic appraisal involves a re-enactment of the processes of creation through which one may intuit the ‘inner ground of nature[29].’

The regulative metaphors of Romanticism’s understanding of the world reappear through the terms in which physics is perceived today. In claiming that the holistic implications of quantum physics signal a new and creative mode of human thinking, Bohm is extending themes that have informed the relationship between philosophy and aesthetics in the modern period into the discourse of quantum mechanics.

Contending that any discussion of the relationship between art and science must also include ethics and theology in its concern with a whole and undivided totality, Bohm accords science an intrinsic virtue in its capacity to assimilate the structural relationships of existence, thereby satisfying our desire for meaning. Bohm sees science as a symbol of the morally ‘good’ in much the same way that Kant views aesthetic judgment: both modes of experience reveal intimations of the transcendental in the purposiveness and intelligibility of nature[30]. The efficacy of science, says Bohm, enables models that can abstract relevant features of the world, thus providing insight into significant ‘essential relationships’ and illuminating nature as a whole. Our appreciation of this coherence, he says, produces feelings of harmony, oneness and beauty which parallel the state of the universe as a unified totality[31].

As Kant pointed out, our conception of the infinite universe as an all-encompassing unified whole is poignantly bound to the awareness of our own finite existence[32]. Here, aesthetic experience is central to mediating the relationship between humans and the world. According to Kant, through aesthetic judgment we experience the harmonious working of our rational faculties, and then project that harmony outwards onto the empirical world, wherein we perceive in objects the formal unity which we discover in ourselves. While this harmony can impress upon us the intelligibility and purposiveness of nature, at other times we are overcome by nature’s infinite greatness and renounce the attempt to understand it[33]. Judgments of the sublime, in particular, reveal our inner metaphysical infinitude, sensed as a moral absolute within us or an aesthetic intimation of the same[34]. In confronting the limits of phenomenal cognition, the inadequacy of our faculties at the level of the senses elicits our awareness of reason’s capacity to conceive of totality as a whole, thus highlighting our supersensible self[35].

In this sense we do not remain passive in the presence of totality but transcend the province of the imagination and appreciate the grandeur of nature as a grandeur of the mind; in Knox’s words, ‘…a grandeur born of Reason and the consciousness of moral worth[36].’ Ultimately for Kant, it is this supersensible sense that is sublime[37].

In demonstrating the depth and intensity of cognitive experience, the sublime elicits the awareness of our capacity to transcend the limitations of finite phenomenal existence. While in rational terms this may be seen as the triumph of reason over sensibility, the subordination of imagination to the transcendental unity of the Idea[38], the sublime’s generative impulse was the ‘mysterium tremendum’ associated with religious experience[39]. The influence of the Christian mystical tradition can be discerned in the Romantics’ echo of the Pseudo-Dionysius’ assertion that the sublime experience reveals God[40]. Described as a feeling of ‘spiritual rehabilitation[41],’ the exultant inner spark elicited by the sublime[42]renders it, as Voller puts it, ‘an aesthetically founded quest devoted to recovering intimations of the divine[43].’

The secular spiritualism of the sublime is adaptable to many theologies[44] and now regulates our understanding of the transcendent impulse in contemporary physics. Both physics and the sublime are historically characterised by the ancient desire for knowledge of the One, each permeated by an implicit theism governed by the inscription on the Western mind of the transcendental status of infinity, both mathematical and metaphysical[45]. In the Romantic sublime natural science intersects with religion through the aesthetic perception of the infinite in the finite[46]. Now, the quantum field has displaced the Romantic aesthetic of the infinite as a ‘symbol of the mind’s relation to a transcendent order[47].’

Bohm’s holomovement is the contemporary correlative of the ineffable, the incomprehensible and the unknowable. Bohm argues that physics has penetrated only so far into the quantum realm and may yet discover a limitless succession of deeper and deeper levels of ultimately unknown entities[48]. And while each of the systems isolated in the study of nature is in some sense a whole, no single system, except the entire universe, can fully realise the cosmic order of the totality[49]. As such, the unbroken and undivided whole cannot be limited in any specifiable way, says Bohm: ‘It is not required to conform to any particular order, or to be bounded by any particular measure. Thus, the holomovement is undefinable and immeasurable[50].

In occasioning imaginative representations which strive after something which lies beyond the bounds of experience, Bohm’s philosophy of science demonstrates that the quest for the absolute possesses universal characteristics. His metaphysical notion of an underlying unbroken wholeness, of ‘that-which-is,’ has resonated with theologians who have interpreted the holomovement as an aspect of the transcendent features of nature that correspond to a divine presence[51], or as the pure consciousness of God[52]. From a physicist’s perspective, Jack Sarfatti combines Bohm’s holographic universe with Wheeler’s participatory universe to propose a union of mind and universe as one immense, cognitional multidimensional projection space in which the wavefunction of the universe provides the mechanism for communion with God[53].

Bohm’s own theologising is not so overt, but more implicitly couched within a romantic aestheticism. Bohm is a follower of Krishnamurti and his writings could readily be consigned to the ‘new age’ speculations associated with Fritjof Capra and other ‘quantum mystics’ who accord quantum mechanics a transformational potential for the development of humankind into higher dimensions of self-awareness. However, Bohm’s metaphysics come with a unique and authoritative warrant. A one-time disciple of Einstein, Bohm’s ontological interpretation of quantum mechanics, the so-called ‘hidden variables’ theory, is considered the main alternative to the Copenhagen Interpretation and some argue that, but for historical contingencies, it might have become dominant among physicists[54] .

The Bohm-Vigier causal theory has been enlisted into the ‘post-quantum’ attempt to locate a theory of consciousness within physical reality[55]. With its inferences of an ‘unmoved mover,’ a ‘quantum force’ in the form of a pilot-wave, it provides an alternative interpretation of non-locality that goes beyond the pragmatic applications of conventional quantum mechanics[56]. which its advocates claim may enable the unification of mind with matter[57].

Post-quantum holism introduces the contemporary paradigm as a product of consciousness[58]. The awareness that there is a limit to our ability to fully apprehend physical reality means that acts of cognition can no longer be viewed in classical terms as representations or images of independently existing facts; instead the physical foundation for the activities of the brain must now be viewed as intimately connected with the whole[59].


The problem is that science conditions us into an awareness of the existence of this whole, and yet cannot affirm its existence in strictly scientific terms. A world which is a dynamic, living whole cannot be represented as a sum of its parts; the reality itself cannot be disclosed by physical theory, only inferred. Physics has brought us to the threshold of knowledge concerning the existence of the undivided whole, yet we cannot cross that threshold in terms of consciousness[60]. Any experience of reality in which the human is to be regarded as a part of the whole can only be mounted in mystical terms or what Einstein referred to as ‘cosmic religious feeling[61].’ Or, in other words, the feeling of the sublime.

That is, although the extent of this whole revealed by physics cannot be comprehended in terms of sense-perceptions or images, it can be conceptualised as an infinite totality wherein reason ‘circumscribes that which overwhelms the senses[62].’ As Bohm’s writings demonstrate, this affirmation of rational comprehension overcomes the possibility of alienation and becomes instead a source of satisfaction, a confirmation of unity with the cosmos through which the limitations of embodiment are felt to be transcended[63].

Paradoxically, it is our awareness of the limitations of our capacities that provokes our awareness of what lies beyond. Here Kant accords aesthetic experience a revelatory status[64], the implication being that it enables us to view ourselves in relation to a transcendent, noumenal reality beyond the reach of thought, where the grandeur of the world and the inexpressible order that allows us to know it is revealed, along with an awareness of our limitations in the face of the ineffable[65]. Judgements of the sublime, in particular, elicit a harmony between the world and our cognitive and creative capacities which not only forms the basis for the unity of the subject as a whole but signals a metaphysical link between the phenomenal and the noumenal, a link which cannot be translated into reasoned argument but can only be felt[66].

However, we should not mistake this transcendent exaltation for the real thing[67]. In light of the delusion or ‘subreption’ by which the subject mistakes the natural for the ideal[68], Kant cautioned that the sublime has no objective status, it does not exist externally in nature, but only in the mind[69]. While a mystical experience can be described in terms of satori, that instant intuition of the whole as a totality which signals the union of the individual with the Godhead[70], the limits imposed by our faculties on experience require that judgments of the sublime entail the rational discernment in the face of the infinite that the experience is one of desire for that which is beyond experience—a desire for an absolute ‘other,’ expressed as (but not representing) a phenomenologically present but ideal and transcendent reality that can never be attained but only morally or aesthetically intimated[71].

In pointing to a realm beyond the reach of human powers of knowledge and description, the sublime denotes the object of experience while leaving open the question of its existence[72]. The aesthetic significance of the experience, then, is determined in terms of the mind’s relation to the object as one of unattainability, the presentation of which signifies an absence or lack historically taken as a metaphor for ‘God,’ ‘the soul,’ or ‘the Absolute,’ etc[73]. But being epistemologically transcendent, the sublime need not presuppose any ontology and may not concern the ‘real,’ as such, but only the limitations of our attempts to grasp it[74]. Hence, for Kant’s ‘object of nature’ we may substitute any object (a physical theory, for instance), if the failure to assimilate the object as a whole determines the mind to regard this inability as a sign of the mind’s relation to a transcendent order of being[75].

Physics, insofar as it deals with the real, also seems to have constructed its own Ideal realm, its own correlative of the ineffable[76]. Upholding the dualistic conception of reality as abstract, disembodied ideas in a domain separate from and superior to that of material objects, physicists’ disclose a Platonic mathematical idealism in their talk of touching something universal and eternal in a realm beyond the senses[77]. The Western metaphysical dream of divine and timeless reason permeates both the discourse of physics and the aesthetic of the sublime, whereupon the identification with a transcendental presence, an ultimate legislating principle originating outside space and time has proved irresistible.

In an era sceptical of the claims of essentialist aesthetics, the transcendent aspect of the sublime is its main problematic[78]. However, the endemic theologising and penchant for mysticism in contemporary physics, while equally problematic, suggests that the response to the unpresentable possesses universal characteristics. Thus, the sublime’s enthusiasm for the absolute as the theme for any given representation renders it the appropriate aesthetic for quantum metaphysics. And in articulating the phenomenology of our response to a mode of being that can only be mounted in aesthetic terms, the rational credentials of the Kantian sublime afford an ontological nuance to the transcendent impulses accompanying physics’ dematerialisation of the physical world. The truth is no longer ‘out there,’ but as Bohm demonstrates, the interiorisation of the infinite relocates the locus of transcendence to the quantum vacuum within. As John Wheeler declares: ‘Never in all our exploration of nature have we come upon a domain more mysterious and more inspiring of thought than the quantum principle. Nothing sounds stranger, nothing is more revelatory than the word quantum[79].’

In revealing the ‘illusion that lies beyond the reality—and the reality that lies beyond the illusion’ (as Wheeler put it)[80], quantum mechanics undermines the classical idea that physical theory can reflect ‘reality-in-itself,’ thus catalysing a contemporary sublime which finds its expression in the metaphysics of physicists such as David Bohm. As Paul Crowther has written, the sublime springs from ‘finite being’s struggle to launch itself into and articulate the world[81].’ Bohm’s ‘implicate order’ reflects this same ‘primal urge’ into transcendence, that desire to create or discover meaning in the face of the unpresentable, which is made vivid in the experience of the sublime[82].


[1] Heisenberg, (1958), Physics and Philosophy, p. 42

[2] Although the view that physics should have decisive metaphysical significance presupposes some version of realism, the fact that the orthodox interpretation of quantum theory makes no assertions about what is ultimately real allows the results of contemporary science to be accepted without conflicting with any particular metaphysical position.  This situation is reflected in the apparent sympathy extended to the Copenhagen interpretation from a variety of philosophical positions which encompass theology (Duheim), phenomenology (Heidegger), pragmatism (Dewey), positivism (Carnap), and linguistics (Ryle). (Kitchener, 1988, The World View of Contemporary Physics.  p. 17).

[3] Bohr, (1927), in Wheeler and Zurek, (1983), Quantum Theory and Measurement, p. 87. According to Bohr, quantum theory describes the phenomenon as a whole consisting of the quantum system, the measuring system, and their interaction, and neither of these three items can be separated from the whole.  In this sense then the quantum postulate, the fact of the finite quantum of action, infers that both the quantum system and the measuring apparatus do not have an ‘independent reality’ in the classical, metaphysical, sense, existing independently of observation or interpretation, and that quantum theory deals with ‘wholes’—‘phenomena’ in which dynamical variables such as position and momentum, which in the classical picture are properties of the microphysical system, are to be regarded in quantum theory as relational properties of the whole phenomenon. (Gibbins, 1987, Particles and Paradoxes. p. 55-56).

[4] Thus, observes Holton (1973), “When you ask, ‘What is light?’ the answer is: the observer, his various pieces and types of equipment, his experiments, his theories and models of interpretation, and whatever it may be that fills an otherwise empty room when the lightbulb is allowed to keep burning.  All this, together, is light.” (Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought, p. 120).

[5] Gross and Levitt, (1994), Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science, p. 78. As Barrow (1998) observes, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, for instance, has had a dramatic impact upon human thinking and knowledge, and is a prominent pivotal point between science and the humanities where the notion of indeterminacy in physics is associated with philosophical positions in contemporary thought that stress the relativity, instability, and indeterminacy of meaning. (p. 23).  That many such studies are characterised by a lack of rigour justifies the criticisms directed at them from such quarters as Sokal and Bricmont, as well as confirming Steiner’s (1971), warning that the complexities of mathematics only serve as a barrier to understanding the meaning of scientific argument and exclude the common reader from science.  “Deep scientific ideas must be comprehended, first of all, on their own terms,” he says, and failure to do so may result in getting it “muddled”, or “misconstruing metaphor to signify the actual process. (In Bluebeard’s Castle, p. 100)

[6] While the experimental results are generally held to vindicate the Copenhagen interpretation, nothing in physics is clear-cut and the debate continues. Attempts to demonstrate that the prevailing probabilistic interpretation is only a provisional approximation to a deeper scientific truth have motivated the search for theories that would not only restore determinism and causality to the subatomic world but also dispense with the dichotomy of physics into classical and quantum phenomena, thus reestablishing a homogenous, unitary account of the physical world and effecting a ‘completion’ of the problems raised by EPR.  Dealing with a mathematical formalism generally more sophisticated than the quantum mechanics on which Bohr based his arguments, physicists and philosophers in recent decades have mounted numerous challenges to the interpretation of Bohr, and rivals to the Copenhagen interpretation now include naive realism, (nonlocal) hidden variable theories; the Everett, or many-worlds, interpretation; and the quantum logical interpretation. The MWI, because of its potential application in the areas of cosmology and general relativity, is now “one of the growth areas of quantum interpretation” (Gribbin, 1995, p. 166). However, since its key proponents, such as Everett, and De Witt, differ significantly in their basic formulations of the theory, discussion of MWI, like discussion of the Copenhagen interpretation, also reflects unresolved divisions with no final version of the interpretation accepted by all its advocates (see Bohm and Hiley, 1993, p. 296).  This is despite it’s advocation by a growing number of physicists such as Deutsch (1997), for example, who regards MWI as “the simplest interpretation of quantum theory” (Davies and Brown, 1988, p. 84).

[7] Kafatos and Nadeau (1990), The Conscious Universe, p. 59. Reality as a whole can neither be known, comprehended, nor defined as the sum of its parts because the whole serves as the ground for the existence of the parts. Thus, attempting to disclose this whole by apprehending the parts is trying to explain their existence in the absence of their ground for existence. Since even the description of the parts ad infinitum will not disclose the existence of the whole, non-locality represents an unexpected limit to scientific knowledge that serves to relegate ontological or metaphysical concerns to other areas of knowledge.

[8] Wheeler, “Law Without Law” in Wheeler and Zurek, (1983), Quantum Theory and Measurement, p. 210. Wheeler is the “archetypal physics-for-poets physicist” (Horgan, 1996, p. 79).

[9] Bohm, in Nichol (ed), (1998), On Creativity, p. 4

[10] ibid, p. 7

[11] ibid, p. 11

[12] Bohm and Peat, (1987), Science, Order, and Creativity, p. 172. Bohm compares the implicate order to the process of an ink drop added to a cylinder of glycerine.  Put simply, as the cylinder is rotated the ink completely disperses into the liquid and eventually becomes invisible. However, the ink has not disappeared but is enfolded into the glycerine.  When the rotation is reversed the dispersion of the ink can be retraced back into its original drop.

[13] Bohm and Peat, (1987), Science, Order, and Creativity, p. 195

[14] Jencks, (1995), The Architecture of the Jumping Universe; A Polemic: How Complexity Science Is Changing Architecture and Culture, p. 23, in Coyne, (1999), Technoromanticism, p. 105

[15] Coyne, (1999) Technoromanticism, p. 105

[16] See Moore, (1990), The Infinite, chapter 7, “Post-Kantian Metaphysics of the Infinite,” pp. 96-109.

[17] Kant had abolished the traditional idea of a pre-given world, bringing to an end the Enlightenment ambition for an unlimited extension of reason, replacing it with a recognition of the mediated nature of the self’s relationship to reality which makes a distinction between the world and our representations of it. In distinguishing between things as they appear to us and those that are not available in experience, Kant asserts the existence of absolutely incognisable objects, or things-in-themselves.

[18] Bates, “The Mind’s Horizon” in Eldridge, (1996), Beyond Representation, p. 152. Kant argued that an independent world, ‘the thing in itself’, must be said to exist but only in an indefinite sense. Since every statement about it incorporates elements of our own thinking, the world that science studies cannot be that thing-in-itself, and no empirical experiment is capable of providing any information about the thing-in-itself. Science deals only with the world of ‘appearances’, the world of ‘phenomena’. This realm is not mere sense-impressions but an independent system following laws of its own which science can to some extent discover and not just invent.  While it is regarded as ‘out there’ all descriptions of it also involve the forms of our own thought; a situation which we cannot stand outside of.

[19] See, for instance, Tipler, (1994), The Physics of Immortality, p. 3

[20] Nichol, (2003), The Essential David Bohm, p. 5

[21] Nichol, ibid, p.5

[22] Bohm, (1980), Wholeness and the Implicate Order, p. 105

[23] ibid, p. 76-77

[24] Bohm and Peat, (1987), Science, Order, and Creativity, p. 180

[25] Seyhan, “Chaos and System in the Romantic Fragment” in Eldridge, (1996), Beyond Representation; Philosophy and Poetic Imagination, p. 142.

[26] Harris, (1988), in Kafatos and Nadeau (1990), The Conscious Universe, p. 158

[27] Bohm, (1980), op cit, p.109

[28] See, in particular, Jones, (1982), Physics as Metaphor; Seyhan, “Chaos and System in the Romantic Fragment” in Eldridge, (1996), Beyond Representation; Philosophy and Poetic Imagination; Coyne, (1999), Technoromanticism, p. 166.

[29] See Shaffer, “Romantic philosophy and the University of Berlin”; F. Gregory, “Theology and the Sciences in the German Romantic Period”; Schaffer, “Genius in Romantic Natural Philosophy”, all in Cunningham and Jardine, (1990), Romanticism and the Sciences. Largely influenced by Schelling’s metaphysical natural philosophy and idealist conceptions of the unity of all knowledge, the Romantic’s circumvented what they saw as the restrictions of Kant’s system of knowledge by combining Kant’s transcendental idealism with the non-Kantian belief that transcendental ideas had an objective existence in nature. Goethe, for instance, argued that a holistic, non-instrumental approach to nature would improve the state of science by opening up new areas for study (Holton, 1978, The Scientific Imagination, p. 84). As a culture of the subject, Romanticism converges with rationalism in conforming to emerging Enlightenment notions of individuality, and in particular promotes the concept of genius.  Since the source of creativity is located in the free-thinking individual, the pursuit of knowledge was seen as a heroic quest and the self-image of the new scientists was modelled according to Romantic themes of scientific discovery as the work of genius (Coyne, 1999, p. 60, 30). The Romantic aesthetics of the sublime was the key to the status of scientific genius (See Schafer, 1990, p. 90). Since the process of discovery was an emergence from unconsciousness to consciousness, genius was understood not as a capacity possessed by the creative individual, but as a power that possessed them. Schelling linked the concept of genius to ‘original intuition’ and to the unexpected goals of inquiry, a notion associated with the Kantian dynamical sublime and attributed to the overwhelming power of destiny which lies above and beyond the subject.  Believing that aesthetic appraisal involves a re-enactment of the processes of creation, Romantics such as Goethe found in Kant support for the view that through aesthetic intuition one may grasp the “inner ground of nature” (p. 90)  Following Ritter’s conception of “physics as an art,” the methodological link between aesthetics and a system of nature was to be central to Novalis’s promotion of the project of a sublime natural philosophy as a counter to French materialism wherein the routines of experimental science became powerful resources for a “sublime physics” (p. 91). Ritter’s approach to physics was informed by his belief that scientific experimentation was an investigation into the self, arguing that “we possess an inner sense – as yet not developed – for knowing the world.  It does not see, nor hear, but it knows” (p. 92). The active investigation of natural power through “auto-experimentation” was the central characteristic of Romantic natural philosophy.  Genius was identified with both the power uncovered by the naturalist and the power of his own experimental perception.  The excessive power made visible in galvanism and pneumatics, for instance, could be connected with the presence of the experimenter.

[30] Scruton, (1998), An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Modern Culture, p. 28-29. Scruton explains that Kant derived his theology from aesthetics, using aesthetic judgement as the proof of God. For Kant, theoretical reason cannot prove there is a God, nor can the idea of God be grasped except by a via negativa that forbids us to apply it. Nevertheless, initimations of the transcendental are experienced in the purposiveness and intelligibility of the beautiful, while in the experience of the sublime we can see beyond the world to something overwhelming and inexpressible in which it is grounded. Neither sentiment can be translated into reasoned argument, for that would constitute a retreat into the natural theology of the past. Hence, aesthetic experience for Kant is the archetype of revelation, it reveals the sense of the world, a sense equivalent to what religion had assumed it to be.  This elevation of the aesthetic to the highest spiritual position eventually culminates, in the wake of Romanticism, in the modernist movement in art and literature.

[31] See Bohm, (1998), On Creativity, p. 2. “Thus, he wishes to find in the reality in which he lives a certain oneness and totality, or wholeness, constituting a kind of harmony that is felt to be beautiful. In this respect, the scientist is perhaps not basically different from the artist…”

[32] Moore, (1990), The Infinite. p. xii.  Says Kant, “Two things fill the mind with ever newer and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and the more steadily they are reflected upon: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me…I see them before me and associate them directly with the consciousness of my own existence.” (Critique of Pure Reason, cited in Moore, p. xiii)

[33] Scruton, (1982), Kant, p. 89.

[34] Moore, (1990), op cit, p. 87. By establishing the first intelligible connection between the metaphysically infinite and the mathematically infinite, Kant shows them to be two conceptions of the same thing.  Henceforth, the infinite, says Moore, “…was to be characterized in metaphysical terms insofar as it applied to how things really were; it was to be characterized in mathematical terms insofar as it applied to how they appeared.” Kant’s conception of the infinite includes the metaphysical infinitude of reason, which is also a feature of reality that we cannot know as it is in itself, but rather than being independent and external to us, is something that lies deep within.  Drawing a distinction between the infinity of endless progression through space and time, Kant believes we have a direct, non-discursive awareness of this inner “true infinity” based on our moral sense.[34]  Indeed, it was to safeguard this sense of true infinity from the incursions of science that Kant developed his philosophical system, intended as a means of acknowledging both the metaphysical infinitude of our own rationality, beyond the world of space and time, and the metaphysical infinitude of God, whose existence is interwoven with our moral sense.  Even though we can never meet such infinitude in experience, Kant believed in the rational Idea of it, and the grander and more magnificent of that which we did meet in experience the more we are aware of what is “absolutely great” in our Idea.

[35] Kant, Critique of Judgement (1790), Ak. 250. Trans. by Pluhar (1987), p. 106

[36] Knox, (1958), The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. p. 58

[37] Crowther, (1993), Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism, p. 135

[38] Makkreel, (1990), Imagination and Interpretation in Kant: The Hermeneutical Import of the Critique of Judgement, p. 81

[39] Voller, (1993), “Cyberspace and the Sublime” in Extrapolation 34, (1), p. 18.  Voller cites Otto, (1917), The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-Rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and Its Relation to the Rational, who notes the correlation between the representation of sublimity in art and the lived experience of the “mysterium tremendum, ‘the deepest and most fundamental element’ in religious emotion, (pp. 12, 27, and 41-42).  See also Morris, (1972), The Religious Sublime: Christian Poetry and Religious Tradition in 18th-Century England.

[40] Pseudo-Dionysius, The Complete Works, (1987), p. 52, cited in Sircello, “How Is a Theory of the Sublime Possible?” in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 51:4, Fall, 1993, p. 544

[41] Knox, (1958), The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, p. 55

[42] Crowther, (1989), The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art, p. 100

[43] Voller, (1993), op cit, p. 18

[44] The identification of the sublime with objects or realms that transcend ordinary or familiar levels of reality finds its most common expression in its association with ‘God’ or ‘the Absolute’, the ‘One’ or ‘the divine’.  In the eighteenth century tradition of the “sublime proper” these terms are the most common designation of a transcendent order of being, and similar themes manifest in non-European sublime discourse (Sircello, 1993, p. 546). As Weiskel, (1976), points out, the identification of the sublime with the supersensible realm indicates the absence of an immediate determinate signified which is then taken as a metaphor for a hidden signified that is a function of ideology. Whether this hidden signified is taken to be God, the soul, or the supersensible, etc, is determined by the beliefs and values of the individual having the experience. (The Romantic Sublime, p. 27-8).

[45] See Rotman, (1993), Ad Infinitum; Wertheim, (1999), The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace. The transcendent tendencies in contemporary physics are attributed to a Platonic orthodoxy embedded in science which is founded on the notion of a mathematical infinity that is ineradicably theological in its belief of numbers as timeless entities, pure forms that are simply ‘out there.’ Reflecting this ancient belief of numbers as disembodied blueprints for material form, a gnostic spirit permeates the history of physics, a blend of Christian theology and Pythagorean mathematical mysticism. For the Pythagoreans mathematics was a religious activity, their divinisation of number “empowered the mind to leap beyond the confusion of sense experience into the realm of immutable and eternal essences.” Ultimate knowledge of the One was obtained via the mathematical secret of the All, and the source of divinity, the fountainhead of the All, was the number One.

[46] F. Gregory, “Theology and the Sciences in the German Romantic Period,” in Cunningham and Jardine, (1990), Romanticism and the Sciences, p. 78

[47] Weiskel, (1976), The Romantic Sublime, p. 23

[48] Bohm and Peat, (1987), Science, Order, and Creativity, p. 182

[49] The inferences of ultimate unknowability requires that all differentiated systems in nature be supplemented, in theory and fact, by other systems. Bohm, for instance, proposes that the explanation for the wave-particle duality as an effect of the quantum field may be regarded as the effect of a ‘superquantum’ field acting upon the original field. The implications are that there may be a limitless succession of deeper and deeper levels of ultimately unknown entities. (See Bohm and Peat, (1987), Science, Order, and Creativity, p. 180-182).

[50] Bohm, (1980), Wholeness and The Implicate Order, p. 151. However, the hologram is not a complete metaphor for the idea that every point contains the whole, as Stenger (1995) points out. The smaller the region on the plate from which the hologram is constructed, the less sharp the image, which indicates that only some and not all the information about the object can be stored at each point of the hologram. (The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology, p. 128)

[51] Russell, (1985), “The Physics of David Bohm and Its Relevance to Philosophy and Theology” in Zygon; Journal of Religion and Science 20, pp. 135-158, quoted in Stenger, (1995), p. 129

[52] Sharpe, (1993), “Holomovement Metaphysics and Theology” in Zygon; Journal of Religion and Science 28, pp. 47-60, quoted in Stenger, (1995), p. 129.  Says Stenger, “And so modern theologians have finally solved their age-old problem of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin – an infinite number, because the head of a pin is a hologram!”

[53] Sarfatti, (1995), Matter, Mind, and God, p. 3. Sarfatti particularly argues that the quantum force of Bohm’s hidden variables theory provides an understanding of the detailed mechanism of how mind moves matter.  For Sarfatti, the work of neurobiologists Crick and Koch, and mathematical physicists Penrose and Hameroff, suggest that the quantum wavefunction is “irreducibly ‘mental’,” a view where non-local quantum connection becomes a new kind of communication channel, which may help explain the experience of consciousness as a unity – “a vital part of the post-modern physics of consciousness” (p. 6). “The implications for healing are emormous,” he says, “when we realize that who we are as mental beings is a quantum wavefunction extending over every cell of our body and not just in the cells of our brain” (p. 3).

[54] Newton, (1997), The Truth of Science: Physical Theories and Reality, p. 189

[55] Indeed, some physicists have long been suggesting a close relationship between quantum mechanics and consciousness, speculating that a full understanding of the quantum formalism ultimately requires the inclusion of the role of consciousness in some form or another, e.g. Everett (1957); Wigner (1967); Squires (1990). Everett, (1957), Review of Modern Physics 29, pp. 454-462; Wigner, (1967), “Remarks on the Mind-body Question”, in Symmetries and Reflections; Squires, (1990), The Conscious Mind in the Physical World; all cited in Bohm and Hiley, (1993), The Undivided Universe; An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory, p. 381.

This discourse also includes: Kafatos and Nadeau (1990), The Conscious Universe; Sarfatti, (1995), Matter, Mind and God; Chalmers, “The Puzzle of Conscious Experience”, in Scientific American, Dec 1995; Stapp, (1993), Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics; Sarfatti, ed. (1995), Lecture on the Physics of Consciousness; Jones, (1997), On Quantum Physics and Ordinary Consciousness; Wolf, (1998), Quantum Future Metaphysics. For a detailed technical argument see Hameroff and Penrose, (1996), Orchestrated Objective Reduction of Quantum Coherence in Brain Microtubules: The “Orch OR” Model for Consciousness, In Hameroff, S., Kaszniak, A. and Scott, A. (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness.

[56] See Stenger, (1995), op cit, p. 130

[57] The implications of such inquiry is that any final theory must contain an additional component. If the existence of consciousness cannot be derived from physical laws, then no theory of physics can be a true theory of everything. (Chalmers, in Sarfatti, 1995, p.4). Bohm’s analysis of the Bohr-Einstein debate resulted in the formulation of his ‘hidden variables’ theory which, in attempting a synthesis of the opposing positions in contemporary physics, seeks to restore the symmetry between consciousness and the physical world.  While such attempts had been the subject of speculation by others such as Wigner, the Bohm-Vigier interpretation proposes that the quantum pilot wave, a concept resurrected from de Broglie’s earlier attempt to provide an alternative to the Copenhagen interpretation, can, according to Crowell (1997), exist in a self-organising feedback-control loop that is fundamentally sentient” (p. 2). The program to formalise this notion of “back-action” in quantum mechanics is known as “post-quantum mechanics.” In this view, the quantum system, contrary to orthodox quantum mechanics, is a fluctuating quantum potential of active information with a “memory and intent that influences, and is also influenced by, its fluctuations at both earlier and later times in a globally self-consistent controllable way” (p. 3).  While physicists such as Penrose and Wolf have also identified comparable phenomena, Crowell notes that Deutsch’s argument for an inter-dimensional ‘multi-verse’ in which distinct configurations co-exist in parallel universes is compatible with the objective reality of the different branches of the De Broglie-Bohm-Vigier pilot wave (p. 4). See also Deutsch, (1997), The Fabric of Reality, p. 213-214.

[58] Jones, (1982), Physics as Metaphor, p. 215. See also Squires, (1985), To Acknowledge the Wonder: The Story of Fundamental Physics, p. 184. See also Penrose, (1994), Shadows of the Mind; Reanney, (1993), The Death of Forever.

[59] Kafatos and Nadeau (1990), op cit, p. 177. Evidence for the involvement of biological processes, such as consciousness, in quantum mechanics is suggested by experiments investigating the hypothesis that microtubules in the brain posses coherent quanta associated with their electric dipoles of oscillation. That is, the transmission of electrical and chemical impulses across nerve synapses is governed by quantum mechanical processes; since the brain is physical it must be regarded as a quantum system and treated as a quantum measuring device. The agreement of methods of “quantum chemistry” with Bohm-Vigier mechanics raises the possibility of constructing a simplified model of microtubule architecture which, if post-quantum mechanics is sound, suggests the feasible manufacture of a “‘Q-chip’ with natural consciousness.” Stapp argues that a characteristic of quantum theory is the “fundamental structural mismatch between the quantum mechanical description of a physical system and our description of our perceptions of that system,” which presents the possibility of representing the mind in physical theory as a combination of thought-like and matter-like aspects of reality (1995, p. 5).  Believing that the Copenhagen interpretation is but a “a half-way house”, he draws from both Heisenberg’s suggestion that the quantum event is a transition from the “possible” to the “actual,” and Whitehead’s proposal that the basic realities of nature are experience-like ‘happenings’ arising from prior potentialities, to argue for the “ontologicalization” of quantum theory (1994, p. 346).  According to Stapp, the actual event in quantum theory can be regarded as the actualisation of a high-level pattern of neural firings having all the complexity of a conscious thought, yet being in essence a single entire structure, an idea he claims provides the foundation for a rational way of linking consciousness into the physicist’s conception of nature wherein the brain is treated as a quantum measuring device (1995, p. 14).

[60] This is the central paradox, according to Kafatos and Nadeau (1990): science conditions us into an awareness of the existence of this whole, and yet cannot fully affirm its existence in strictly scientific terms. “The evidence for the existence of the ineffable and mysterious disclosed by modern physics is as near as the dance of particles that make up our bodies, and as far as the furthest reaches of the cosmos.” (p.180). On the other hand, the apprehension of the whole through a religious or mystical insight cannot be translated into conscious content without invoking reductionism. Physics brings us to the horizon of knowledge where we confront the existence of the whole, yet we cannot cross that horizon in terms of consciousness. And in revealing that the ‘self’ is not isolated from the whole, we confront the prospect that there are no truths in the “old terms” with the “…terrifying realization that there is no empirically valid connection between our formalism for describing physical reality and reality-in-itself.” The paradox, according to Kafatos and Nadeau, is that the foundation for being, while obviously a ‘given’, cannot be completely disclosed in a scientific description that evidently posits our unity with the cosmos, resulting in an existential crisis from which, in epistemological terms, there appears to be “No Exit.” (p.117).

[61] See Wilber, (1985), Quantum Questions; Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists, p. 103.  Einstein maintains that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.

[62] Crowther, (1993), Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism, p. 173

[63] See Crowther, (1989), The Kantian Sublime, p. 166. Since the capacity for rational comprehension is a fundamental feature of existence, the recognition that physical objects form phenomenal wholes even if all their parts are not immediately accessible to the senses enables us in our theoretical and practical projects to calculate or comprehend even the vastest and smallest things in terms of rational concepts. Yet, because this capacity is so intrinsic and extensively employed, it is generally taken for granted as a tool with which to control and manipulate reality.  At the same time philosophy, says Crowther, reifies our understanding of reason in terms of “a ‘property’ or ‘quality’ ‘accruing’ to human beings, rather than as a “dynamic and extraordinary mode of transcendence towards the world.”

[64] Scruton, (1998), explains that Kant derived his theology from aesthetics, using aesthetic judgement as the proof of God. For Kant, theoretical reason cannot prove there is a God, nor can the idea of God be grasped except by a via negativa that forbids us to apply it. Nevertheless, initimations of the transcendental are experienced in the purposiveness and intelligibility of the beautiful, while in the experience of the sublime we can see beyond the world to something overwhelming and inexpressible in which it is grounded.  Neither sentiment can be translated into reasoned argument, for that would constitute a retreat into the natural theology of the past. Hence, aesthetic experience for Kant is the archetype of revelation, it reveals the sense of the world, a sense equivalent to what religion had assumed it to be. This elevation of the aesthetic to the highest spiritual position eventually culminates, in the wake of Romanticism, in the modernist movement in art and literature (p. 28-29).

[65] Scruton, (1982), Kant, p. 88

[66] Makkreel, (1990), op cit, p. 87. The inability of the imagination to comprehend mathematical infinity enables us to experience a sublime infinity within ourselves which not only provides the basis for a synthesis of the faculties but also provides a metaphysical link between the phenomenal and the noumenal – a link that can only be felt.

[67] Weiskel, (1976), The Romantic Sublime, p.46. “The function of the sublime moment is to expose the cheat or subreption by which an object of nature invites awe and to redirect the awe to the subject .” In light of Kant’s doctrine of ‘subreption’, the delusive movement of the mind by which the subject mistakes the real for the ideal, the natural for the absolute, Weiskel argues that all versions of the sublime, in order to avoid collapsing into mere rhetoric, “…require a credible god-term, a meaningful jargon of ultimacy.” And while it is the variation of historical responses to such terms, the forms of its signifieds, that constitute the changing ideology of the discourse of the sublime, it makes no sense to ‘interpret’ its meanings until the ulteriority of the sublime moment has been demonstrated, as opposed to merely asserted; “The cause of the sublime is the aggrandizement of reason at the expense of reality and the imaginative apprehension of reality” (36-41).

[68] ibid, p. 36. In seeking to divest Kant’s sublime from its idealist metaphysics, Weiskel observes that what is transcendent or ‘lofty’ for the idealist is ‘profound’ or ‘deep’ for the naturalising mind, “depth” being the contemporary locus of values of god. The sublime moment establishes depth through the presentation of unattainability: “a negation, a falling away from what might be seized, perceived, known.” While initially it is an image of the abyss, the intervention of the transcendent converts it into a symbol with height as the valorised perspective. (p. 24-25).

[69] Crowther, (1997), The Language of Twentieth-Century Art, p. 150

[70] The awareness that ‘All is One’ is the mystical knowledge which signifies the union of the individual with the Absolute, the unity of the One and the Many.  It can only be attained all at once or not at all.The “/” of the One/Many dualism is experienced as a simultaneous expansion outwards towards infinity and a contraction inwards towards zero, a movement that would “…meet and merge at some unattainable point where Zero was Infinity, where Nothing was Everything.” This momentary experience of the Void and Everything as one and the same is known in Zen as satori, an instant of enlightenment described by Suzuki (1970) as: “The oneness dividing itself into subject-object and yet retaining its oneness at the very moment that there is the awakening of a consciousness.”  Zen distinguishes between two ways of knowing the world – Vijnana is discursive, analytical and rational knowledge that separates subject and object, whereas Prajna is an intuitive, immediate grasping of knowledge that does not distinguish between subject and object, the knower and the known.  While Vijnana can never reach infinity in any sequential progression, according to Suzuki, Prajna can intuit the whole as a totality, “it grasps reality from inside, as it were.” Suzuki, (1970), The Field of Zen, p. 24, cited in Rucker, (1982), Infinity and the Mind, p. 215.  See also Davies, (1992), The Mind of God, p. 227.  Davies relates Peat’s experience of a sense of all boundaries between the self and the outer world vanishing, the sense of touching something universal and eternal which lies beyond all categories and all attempts to capture it in logical thought.

[71] See Crowther, (1995), The Contemporary Sublime: Sensibilities of Transcendence and Shock, p. 17; Want and Klimowski, (1997), Introducing Kant, p. 146; Dalton, (1999), Obligation to the Other in Levinas and the Experience of the Sublime in Kant. In a theologico-philosophical tradition marked by a distinction between the transcendental and the actual articulated in terms of two distinct realms where the reality of the actual is dependent on the transcendental having the function of providing the identity of that which is actually present, representation only ever struggles for an ideal type which can never be fulfilled. (Benjamin and Osborne, 1991, Thinking Art: Beyond Traditional Aesthetics, p. 18).

[72] See “How is a theory of the sublime possible?” in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 51:4 Fall 1993.

[73] Weiskel, op cit, p. 36; Sircello, p. 546. The identification of the sublime with objects or realms that transcend ordinary or familiar levels of reality finds its most common expression in its association with ‘God’ or ‘the Absolute’, the ‘One’ or ‘the divine’. In the eighteenth century tradition of the “sublime proper” these terms are the most common designation of a transcendent order of being, and similar themes manifest in non-European sublime discourse. Marvick (1986), notes that since the object of signification in the experience of the sublime is nothing less than an elusive state of mind or spirit, it is not surprising that it should be evoked by metaphors rather than considered as a thing in itself (Mallarme and the Sublime, p. 3).

[74] See Sircello, “How is a theory of the sublime possible?” in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 51:4 Fall 1993. In professing to ‘see’ beyond human powers of knowledge and description, the sublime experience indicates access to a realm or object that is inaccessible to rational thought. The sublime is epistemologically transcendent in that it denotes the object of the experience while leaving open the question of its existence. Nevertheless, to be of any philosophical significance the sublime experience must disclose something about the world or ourselves—it must be of something ‘true’. Although sublime experience represents something as existing that is inaccessible to human epistemological powers, on a level which transcends that of humankind, being epistemologically transcendent the sublime need not presuppose any ontology and may not concern the ‘real’ at all, but only our limitations of any attempts to grasp it.

[75] Weiskel, (1973), op cit, p. 23

[76] Coyne, (1999), Technoromanticism, p. 103

[77] See Rotman, (1993), Ad Infinitum, p. x, 57.

[78] Traditionally, the term ‘aesthetic’ has been used in an essentialist sense in that the task of aesthetics is a search for both a definition of art and aesthetic experience and, also, of definite criteria of aesthetic excellence. This essentialist view is linked to Kant and the rise of Modernism. The dominant tendency in essentialist aesthetics is that of Formalism: What defines art is its embodiment of balanced and harmonious formal qualities; what defines aesthetic experience is an elusive ‘disinterested’ attitude which must be adopted to appreciate such qualities. As Norris puts it, “the aesthetic is notoriously a realm of mystified notions and values,” a domain traditionally colonised by conservative critic-philosophers from Edmund Burke to T. S. Eliot and Roger Scruton – right-wing ideologues who valorise the aesthetic by placing it beyond reach of ideological critique, and “for whom the appeal to aesthetic values becomes a kind of shibboleth, a touchstone of true, disinterested judgement, as opposed to all forms of critical theory, whether Marxist, post-structuralist, sociological or whatever.” (1990, What’s Wrong With Postmodernism, p. 16, and, 1985, The Contest of the Faculties; Philosophy and Theory After Deconstruction, p. 12). “Aesthetics is the prime example of a subject discipline that exists purely by virtue of its own self-generated problems.  That art needs explaining, or that such explanations posses some distinctive philosophical interest, is self-evident only in terms of that discourse which produced ‘aesthetics’ as a largely autonomous order of knowledge” (1985, p. 123).

[79] Wheeler, “Law Without Law”, in Medawar and Shelley, (1980), Structure in Science and Art, p. 145

[80] Wheeler, “Law Without Law” in Wheeler and Zurek, (1983), Quantum Theory and Measurement, p. 210

[81] Crowther, (1989), The Kantian Sublime: From Morality to Art, p. 167

[82] Crowther, (1995), The Contemporary Sublime, p. 17