The majority of the first part of Kant's 'Critique of Judgement' is concerned with the beautiful and it is not
even until the second book that Kant discusses and attempts to differentiate another basic type of aesthetic experience, the
sublime. The beautiful and the sublime are very similar in many ways in that they both please on their own account, they are
reflective judgements, and they both seem to please universally. Kant points out that there are several key differences between
the two, however, and states three major distinctions in particular. First off, the beautiful is concerned with a particular
form of an object where as the sublime's sense of limitlessness is often formless. Secondly, while the beautiful is often
associated with a certain playfulness and charm the sublime, on the other hand, is a "momentary check to the vital forces"
and is, therefore, far from playful and is instead "dead earnest." Finally, Kant says that the most important distinction
between the beautiful and the sublime is that beauty "conveys a finality in its form making the object appear" where
as the sublime seems to be "contra-final." Kant defines pleasure as a feeling obtained from achieving an end or
from fulfilling a purpose. Beauty achieves this finality and pleasure but because of the sublime's limitlessness the faculties
of the imagination and reason cannot comprehend and, therefore, this finality is never achieved yet somehow the sublime produces
a sensation of pleasure. Because of this contradiction, the sublime seems to cause serious problems for Kant's philosophy.
Unlike the beautiful which requires "restful contemplation," the sublime must be divided into the two categories
of the mathematically and the dynamically sublime. An art history teacher of mine often compared the sublime to a rollercoaster
ride. We ride a rollercoaster to obtain an unusual pleasurable sensation that we are out of control even though, paradoxically,
we feel safe (in control) at the same time.